Now, O thou man of wit and eloquence!
Upon a goodly tale thy skill employ, ,
For if the words are equal to the sense
The poet's soul will be a source of joy;
But he whose thoughts lack loveliness will thwart
His purpose by his own unlovely thought;
Moreover he will make himself a cross,
And have the disapproval of the wise;
Yet, in that every one is at a loss
To see his faults (thy genius to thine eyes
Is bright) thy work if 'tis to last, confide,
When polished, to the learned to decide
Its value; if approved 'twill make its way
And be as water in thine own canal.
I take from legends of a former day
A rustic minstrel's story, and I shall,
Although the tale be old, when I have done,
Make it a tale in vogue with every one.
If length of days shall be vouchsafed to me,
And with long life immunity from ill,
I shall have left behind a fruitful tree,
To go on bearing in the orchard still.
Full many a marvel hath o'erpassed his head
Whose years reach fifty-eight, yet minished
Greed is not ever as they onward glide;
I still by rule and omen choose my day.
What said herein the archimage, our guide?
"He that is waxen old is old for aye."
Tell on thy tale, be wise and of good cheer,
So long as life endureth persevere.
When thou departest what was here thine own
Shall in God's hand for good or evil be;
Remember! thou shalt reap as thou hast sown
And as thou speakest men will speak of thee.
The gentle speaker heareth in return
Soft words: make speaking gently thy concern.
Now for the rustic minstrel's tale. Heed well
The matter that the poet hath to tell.
The Story of the Mother of Siyawush
Thus said an archimage : One morning Tus
In merry pin left the Shah's gate at cockcrow,
With Giv, Gudarz, and other cavaliers,
To hunt upon the desert of Daghwi
With hawk and cheetah. By a river's bank
They stalked or ran down game, and caught or shot
Enough to last them forty days. Near by
A Turkman's camp showed black, and thence a forest
Stretched almost to the marches of Turan.
Giv led the way with Tus : behind them came
Some brave retainers. Entering the wood,
And roaming thus awhile in quest of quarry,
They saw among the trees a fair-cheeked maiden,
And hurried toward her in high glee. The age
Had not her peer in looks; hers were not charms
To need apologies. In stature she
Was cypress-tall, in looks a moon, to gaze
On her was perilous. Tus said to her:-
"Bewitching Moon! who showed thee to this wood?"
"My father set on me last night," she said,
"And so I fled from home. He had returned
Drunk from a marriage-feast and, in his frenzy
Perceiving me far off, drew forth his sword
Of watered steel and had beheaded me.
I fled for refuge, and have just come hither."
The paladin then asked her of her kindred.
She told him fully and to this effect :-
"I am akin to Garsiwaz, and trace
My lineage to Shah Faridun."
He asked her:-
"Why camest thou afoot, for thou hast come
Unmounted and unguided? "
My My steed was wearied out and fell exhausted.
I had uncounted gold, gold crown, and jewels,
But over yonder hill some people robbed me
And beat me with a scabbard. I escaped
In terror and am weeping tears of blood.
My sire no doubt when sober will dispatch
Some horsemen after me forthwith, my mother
Will haste to me, she would not have me quit
These fields and fells."
Now both the paladins
Grew hot of heart for love of her, and Tus,
Lost to all shame, exclaimed: ,'Twas I who spied her,
And therefore made such haste."
"O captain of the host! without thy host
Thou art no match for me."
But Giv replied
Still Tus insisted:-
She came exactly in my horse's way:'
Giv said: "Nay! Say not so; I led the chase.
Tell not a falsehood for a slave-girl's sake
A man of courage is not quarrelsome."
Their wrangle was so violent that the Moon
Was like to lose her head in the dispute,
Until a noble interposed and said:-
"Convey her to the monarch of Iran,
And bide by his decision."
And went to Kai Kaus, who when he saw
The damsel's beauty, fell in love with her
Himself, and said to those two generals:-
"Your journey's travail was cut short for you!
Be she a doe or beautiful gazelle
A quarry such as this is for your lord.
Come let us pass the day in telling how
These warriors with their cheetahs caught a Sun!
He questioned her: "What is thy lineage,
For thou art fairy-like in countenance? "
"I am of high birth on my mother's side,"
She said, " my father sprang from Faridun.
My father's father is prince Garsiwaz,
Whose tents now occupy yon border land."
Kaus said: "Didst thou mean to fling away
Such looks as these, such beauty and such birth?
'Tis meet I place thee in my golden bower:
Thou must be chief of all the Moon-faced there."
She answered: "I preferred thee at first sight
Among the great."
The Shah then gave each general
Ten noble chargers with a throne and crown,
But sent the Idol to the women's bower,
And gave command to set her on the throne.
Then under her they placed an ivory seat,
Upon her head a crown of gold and turquoise,
Adorning her with yellow-hued brocade,
With jewels, turquoise, lapis lazuli,
And other presents worthy hers to be
A ruby yet untouched by man was she.
The Birth of Siyawush
When nine months had elapsed, and jocund spring
Resumed its tints, men said to Kai Kaus:-
"Thou hast had fruit of that auspicious Moon
A glorious infant hath appeared, and now
Thou well mayst set thy throne above the clouds.
A babe of fairy-form is born to her,
In visage like an idol of Azar,
With face and hair unheard of heretofore,
And all the folk are talking of the child."
The world-lord named him Siyawush, and gave
The rolling heaven praise because of him;
Yet they that read the purpose of the sky,
Its good and evil and its when and how,
Saw that the stars were hostile to the boy,
And grieved because they saw his fortune sleeping.
They turned to God for refuge, warned the Shah
About the fortune of his son, and showed
The path to take, aware that he would suffer
From good and bad. Anon came peerless Rustam
Before the Shah and said: "Mine be the task
To rear this child that is so lion-like;
Since thy retainers are not competent
There is no nurse on earth for him like me."
The monarch, having pondered much thereon,
Entrusted little loath his heart and eyes -
This atheling, the child so loved by him -
To Rustam's charge, who bore him to Zabul
And lodged him in a rosary, instructed
The youth in riding, archery, the use
Of lasso, stirrups, reins, and other gear,
To hold his court, his feasts, and drinking-bouts,
To follow game with falcon, hawk, and cheetah,
To judge in causes, and to rule the kingdom,
Make speeches, combat, and lead forth a host
All these accomplishments did Rustam teach him,
And took abundant pains which bore their fruit,
h' or Siyawush became a peerless prince,
And, as time passed, grew tall and captured lions.
One day he spake to noble Rustam thus:-
"Desire to see the Shah hath come on me.
Much travail and heart-burning hast thou borne
To toach me all a king's accomplishments
My father must examine the result
Of elephantine Rustam's tutelage."
The lion-hearted hero made all ready,
And sent posts everywhere. Of horses, slaves,
Gold, silver, signets, falchions, crowns, and girdles,
And various stuffs and linings, he produced
Whate'er he could himself or got elsewhere.
On this wise Rustam furnished forth the youth,
For all men's eyes were fixed on Siyawush,
And also journeyed with him lest the Shah
Might be offended. As their custom was
The folk put decorations everywhere
In their desire to please the paladin,
The townsmen mingled gold and ambergris,
And showered them on the travellers' heads for joy,
The world grew full of mirth and precious havings,
Each mansion's door and roof were decked, the feet
Of Rustam's Arab steeds trod drachms. Men saw
None mournful in Iran; throughout the line
Of march steeds' manes dripped saffron, musk, and wine.
How Siyawush arried from Zabulistan
When news reached Shah Kaus that " Siyawush
Is coming in great state," both Giv and Us
Went forth right joyously at his command
With escort, trump, and drum. The chiefs assembled,
With Rustam on this hand and Tus on that,
To come in triumph to the Shah, for they
Came with that fruiting Sapling. When he reached
The palace of the Shah a shout was raised,
And access given. Slaves with censers charged
With goodly perfumes gazed upon the prince
With folded arms. Three hundred filled the court
To every corner, and the noble Cypress
Was in the midst. They showered gold and gems,
And called down blessings on him. Siyawush,
When he beheld Kaus upon his throne
Of ivory and crowned with brilliant rubies,
First offered praise, did reverence, and whispered
To earth awhile. He then approached the Shah,
Who clasped him closely. Kai Kaus saluted
And welcomed Rustam warmly, seated him
Upon the turquoise throne and, lost in wonder,
Called many blessings down upon his son,
For in that height, that stature, and that Grace
The Shah foresaw a future and much fame.
Thou wouldst have said of one so young yet wise
"His soul is fed on wisdom." So the Shah,
With face upon the ground, gave many praises
To God and said: "Great Ruler of the sky,
The Lord of understanding and of love
All good things come from Thee, but most of all
I thank Thee for my child."
The Iranian chiefs,
Each with his gift, came to the Shah rejoicing;
They marvelled at the Grace of Siyawush,
And called a wealth of blessings down on him.
Then by the Shah's command the noblemen
And captains of the host attended court,
While all the world resorted to his gardens,
His palace, and his hall, with right good cheer.
Men called for wine and harp and minstrelsy.
The Shah's festivities were such as none
Had held before. A sennight passed in joy.
Upon the eighth day he unlocked his treasures,
And gave command to bring all manner forth,
As swords and signet-rings, with thrones and casques,
And Arab steeds with poplar-wooden saddles,
Bards, coats of mail for war, dinars, and purses
Of drachms, brocade, and jewels great and small,
Except the crown, it was not time for that,
But all the rest Kaus gave Siyawush
With many promises of good to come.
Seven years' probation proved his noble birth
By all his acts, the eighth the monarch bade him
Assume a golden crown and torque and girdle,
And had a patent writ on painted silk
As royal Grace and precedent required.
Since Siyawush was worthy of a throne,
And majesty, the Shah bestowed on him
All Kuhistan, so called of yore, the same
As Ma wara 'u'n-Nahr its modern name.
The Death of the Mother of Siyawush
When all was ordered as the Shah had bidden
The prince's mother passed away. The prince
Came from his throne like one possessed, and raised
His lamentation to the rolling sky.
He rent his clothes, threw dust upon his head,
Mourned o'er her sorely, grievously afflicting
His own sweet soul, mourned greatly night and day,
For many days ne'er smiled, grieved one whole moon,
And sought no respite from his misery.
Now when the nobles heard thereof - such men
As Tus and Fariburz, Gudarz and Giv,
Born princes or heroic paladins -
They made all haste to come to Siyawush,
Who as he looked on them groaned grievously;
His tears burst forth afresh, and he unlocked
The portal of the anguish of his heart.
Gudarz, when he beheld the prince's sorrow,
Gazed on that noble Cypress overwrought,
And weeping said to him: "O royal prince!
Hear mine advice and think no more of grief.
The child of every mother will depart;
Not one of them can 'scape the clutch of fate.
Although thy mother is a memory now,
Mourn not: her spirit is in heaven."
Of many a counsel, many a soothing strain,
He made the prince's heart itself again.
How Sudaba fell in Love with Siyawush
Time passed, the Shah still joyed in Siyawush,
Till as they sat one day Sudaba entered,
Beheld the prince's face, and grew distraught.
Her heart throbbed, " she is wasted to a thread,"
Thou wouldst have said, " or ice before the fire."
She bade one go by stealth to him and say :-
'"Twould cause no wonder if thou shouldest visit
The royal bower anon."
The envoy went,
But noble Siyawush was wroth and said:-
"Entice me not. I am no chamberer,
Or given to romances and intrigues."
Another day at dawn Sudaba sought
The Shah and said: "O ruler of the host!
The sun and moon have never seen thy peer,
Or any like thy son. Let all the world
Rejoice in him; so send him to thy bower
To see his sisters and thy favourites.
'fell him: 'Go visit oft thy sisters there,
Whose hearts are full, whose cheeks
are wet, with
Then will we pay him worship, give him gifts,
And bring the tree of service into fruit."
The Shah replied: "Thou sayest right; thou hast
A hundred mothers' love for him."
For Siyawush and said: "The blood within
Our veins, and love, will show themselves; moreover
God hath so made thee that thou art beloved
Of all beholders, given thee pure birth;
None e'er was mother-born as pure as thou;
But what availeth blood-relationship
To those who see thee only from afar?
Thy sisters and Sudaba, in affection
A mother to thee, are within the bower.
Go now and visit those secluded ones,
And stay awhile that they may do thee honour."
The prince beheld his father with amazement,
Then mused awhile and strove to clear himself,
Suspecting that his father sought to prove him;
For Kai Kaus was knowing and smooth-tongued,
Wise, shrewd of heart, and ready to distrust.
The prince was troubled, communed with himself,
And in the end determined.
"I go Sudaba will talk much with me,"
Then said: "The Shah hath given me a patent,
A throne, and crown. From where the lofty sun
Arising maketh dust a thing of price
No king resembling thee in goodness, knowledge,
Demeanour, and pursuits, e'er donned the crown.
Point me the way to sages, men of leading,
And chiefs approved; or show me how to handle
Spear, mace, or bow and arrow, midst the foe;
Or be it king-craft and court-usages,
Or feast and harp, or wine and revellers;
But in the women's quarters of the Shah
What shall I learn? Shall women point the way
To knowledge? Yet if so the Shah commandeth
My custom henceforth is to visit them."
The Shah replied: "Be happy, O my son
"If," he thought,
May wisdom rest upon thee! I have heard
But seldom such fair words. Thy brain will grow
Since thou art thus amenable. Dismiss
All ill surmises from thy heart, away
With trouble, and enjoy thyself. Look in
Upon the children just for once : perchance
It will divert them somewhat."
"I will go,"
Said Siyawush, " to-morrow and perform
The Shah's command. Behold I stand before thee
Devoted, heart and soul, to do thy bidding.
As thou requirest so will I behave,
Thou art the world-lord; I am but a slave."
How Siyawush visited Sudaba
One named Hirbad, purged heart and brain and soul
From evil, never left the Idol-house,
And kept the key. The Shah commanded him :-
"What time the sun shall draw the sword of day
Seek Siyawush and further his commands.
Instruct Sudaba to present to him
A gift of gems and musk, and let withal
His sisters and the slaves pour emeralds
And saffron over him."
When Sol o'ertopped
The mountains Siyawush approached the Shah
And did obeisance. When they had conversed
Awhile in private Kai Kaus instructed
Hirbad, then said to Siyawush: "Go with him
And be prepared to look on something new."
The twain went off together merrily
Without a thought of care; but when Hirbad
Held up the veil that hung before the door
The mind of Siyawush foreboded ill.
The women came before him one and all
In festival attire to gaze at him;
The house was full of musk, dinars, and saffron,
And at his feet they strewed drachms, gold, and gems
The floor was covered with brocade of Chin
Enriched with lustrous pearls. Wine, scent, and voice
Of minstrelsy were there, all heads were crowned
With jewels; 'twas like Paradise, replete
With lovely forms and sumptuous furniture.
Now Siyawush on entering the bower
Beheld a brightly shining, golden throne,
With patterns wrought in turquoise, royally
Draped with brocade. There sat moon-faced Sudaba,
Like Paradise itself in hue and perfume,
Sat like the bright Canopus of Yaman,
Her head adorned with ringlets, curl on curl.
Surmounted by a lofty crown her hair
Descended to her feet in musky lassos.
A slave stood humbly by with golden slippers.
When Siyawush appeared within the veil
Sudaba hastened to descend the throne,
Advanced with graceful gait, saluted him,
Embraced him long, long kissed his eyes and face,
And wearied not to look at him. She said :-
"I offer praise to God a hundred ways
All day and three whole watches of the night,
For no one hath a son resembling thee
The Shah himself hath not another such."
Now Siyawush knew well what that love meant,
And that such fondness was not in the way
Of God, and, since it was unseemly there,
Went quickly to his sisters, who enthroned him
With many a blessing on a golden seat.
He stayed awhile, then went back to the Shah:
The bower was full of talk: the women said:-
"Behold the head and crown of courtesy!
' He is not,' thou hadst said, 'like other men
His soul diffuseth wisdom.'"
Came to his father's presence and spake thus:-
"I have beheld the veil and what it hid.
All good things in the world are thine, no need
For thee to vindicate the ways of God
Who dost in treasure, scimitars, and troops
Surpass Hushang, Jamshid, and Faridun."
The Shah joyed at the words. He decked his palace
Like jocund spring, had wine and harp and things
Prepared, and banned the future from the heart.
That night he went among his dames and talked
Thus with Sudaba: "Hide not what thou thinkest
About the judgment and the courtesy
Of Siyawush, his stature, looks, and speech.
Dost thou approve of him and is he wise?
Deserveth he what others say of him?"
Sudaba answered: "Shah and people never
Saw thy like on the throne, and who is there
To match thy son? Why speak with bated breath? "
The Shah said: "If he is to live till manhood
We must protect him from the evil eye."
She said: "If my words please, and if thy son
And I are minded that I should bestow
A wife upon him out of his own kindred,
Not from the great ones that are round about -
A consort who shall bear to him a son
Such as he is himself among the mighty -
Then I myself have daughters like to thee,
Begotten of thy seed., of thy pure stock;
Or should he take a child of Kai Arash,
Or Kai Pashin, she would give thanks with joy."
He said to her: "It is my wish. My name
And greatness are dependent on the issue:'
Next morning Siyawush approached the Shah,
And called down blessings on the crown and throne.
The monarch caused all strangers to depart
And, speaking with his son in privacy,
Said thus: "I have in me a secret longing,
Inspired by God, the Maker of the world,
That thou shouldst leave a memory of thy name,
And that a king should issue from thy loins,
That as my face refreshed at seeing thee,
Thy heart should be enlarged at sight of him.
I had thy horoscope to this effect
From archimages that can read the stars,
That from thy loins a king shall come and be
Thy monument. Now choose thyself a wife
Among the great from those within the veil
Of Kai Pashin or bower of Kai Arash;
Make all things ready and bestow thy hand."
He said: "I am the Shah's slave and I bow
My head before his counsel and behest.
His choice for me is good, whoe'er she be;
The world-lord is a monarch o'er his slaves.
Would that Sudaba heard it not! her words
Are otherwise, she hath no mind thereto;
I cannot talk to her of this affair,
And have no business in that bower of hers."
The Shah. smiled at the words of Siyawush,
Not witting of the quag beneath the straw,
And said to him: "Thy wife must be thy choice.
Sudaba least of all need be considered,
Her words are full of loving-kindliness;
She tendereth thy welfare."
Was gladdened by the words, and reassured
Began to speak the world-king's praise and pay
Him reverence, falling down before the throne,
Yet privily Suddba with her schemes
Still vexed and troubled him, for well he knew,
And his skin burst: "This is her notion too!"<
How Siyawush visited the Bower the second Time
Another night thus passed and starry heaven
Turned o'er dark earth. Sudaba radiant
Sat on her throne and donned a diadem
Of rubies. Then she summoned all her daughters,
Arrayed, and seated them on golden thrones.
Before her stood young Idols: thou hadst said :-
"It is a paradise." The moon-faced lady
Said to Hirbad: "Go say to Siyawush :-
' Afflict thy feet and show thyself to me.'"
Hirbad made speed to give that lover's message
To Siyawush who, hearing, stood distraught,
And oft invoked the Maker of the world.
He sought in various ways but found no help;
He trembled, and his legs shook under him;
Then went to visit her and saw her state,
Her face, and diadem. She with her head
And tresses decked with gems rose at his coming,
Gave up the throne of gold to him and, standing
Slavelike, displayed her Idols - gems uncut.
"Behold this throne-room," thus she said, " and all
These handmaids with their golden coronets
They all are youthful Idols of Tariz,
Whom God hath formed of modesty and charms.
If any one of them delighteth thee,
Survey her looks and form from head to foot."
While Siyawush was glancing lightly round
There was not one who dared to catch his eye,
And as they talked they said: "The moon itself
Would not presume to gaze upon this prince."
When each, in speculation on her chance,
Had gone back to her seat, Sudaba said:-
"Why dost thou keep thy purpose to thyself?
Wilt thou not tell me what is thy desire,
O thou whose looks are fairy-like with Grace!
For all are struck who catch a glimpse of thee,
Preferring thee to any? Ponder well
Which of these beauties is the worthiest."
But Siyawush was moved and answered not,
For thoughts like these arose in his pure heart:-
"Far better hold my pure heart's funeral rites
Than take a consort from among my foes.
I have been told by famous warriors
Of all the doings of Hamavaran,
How he entreated the Iranian kind,
And how he raised dust from the Iranian chiefs.
This treacherous Sudaba is his daughter,
And will not leave our kindred skin or marrow."
He opened not his lips to make reply.
The fairy-faced one raised her veil and said:-
"If one should see the new moon and the sun
Here upon this new throne, it would not be
A marvel if the moon should be despised,
And thou shouldst press the sun in thine embrace.
No wonder if the man that seeth me
Upon the ivory throne, with rubies crowned
And turquoise, should not look upon the moon,
But think all other Beauties beautiless.
If thou wilt make a compact with me now,
Turn not away but set my heart at rest,
One of my youthful daughters present here
Will I make stand before thee like a slave.
So make a compact with me now by oath,
And disregard no jot of what I say,
That, when the Shah departeth from the world,
Thou wilt be his memorial with me,
Wilt never suffer me to come to harm,
But hold me dear as life. And now behold
I stand before thee and I give to thee
Myself and my sweet life. I will fulfil
Whate'er thou asketh me - thy whole desire -
And let my head be taken in thy toils."
She hung upon his neck, gave him a kiss,
And of a truth forgot her modesty.
He blushed; the very lashes of his eyes
Were red with shame. He thought: "From this div's work
Now may the Lord of Saturn keep me far!
I will not treat my sire disloyally,
Nor will I make a league with Ahriman.
If I speak coldly to this wanton dame
Her heart will seethe; she will grow hot with rage,
Make practice of some secret sorcery,
And cause the world-lord to believe in her.
'Tis best to speak her fair and keep her full
Of tenderness and longing."
Then he said :-
"Thou hast not any equal in the world,
rind art the rival of the moon itself
In beauty: thou art for the Shah alone.
As for myself thy daughter will suffice,
None other must be mine. Consent to this,
Propose it to the monarch of Iran,
And mark the answer that thou wilt receive.
I will demand her and will covenant,
And give a pledge before thee with my tongue,
That till her stature equallethmine own
I will not think of any one besides.
For what thou askest further - since my face
Inspireth in thy soul a love for me -
God's Grace hath made me thus, O thou most fair!
Conceal thy secret; speak of it to none
For me too silence is the only course.
Thou art the chief of ladies and a queen,
And I will think of thee as mother only."
He spake these words and rose to go, but love
Still filled her wicked soul. When next Kaus,
The monarch, visited the women's bower,
Sudaba looked and saw him. She appeared
Before the Shah with news of what had passed,
And spake thus of the case of Siyawush
"He came and looked all round the hall. I made
A bevy of the black-eyed Idols there.
The hall was such with all the fair-faced girls
That thou hadst said: 'Love raineth from the moon!'
But, save my daughter, he approved of none
No other fair was precious in his eyes."
The Shah was so rejoiced that thou hadst said:-
"The moon itself hath come to his embrace!"
He oped his treasury's door: a wealth of gems,
Brocade of cloth of gold, and golden girdles,
As well as bracelets, crowns, and signet-rings,
With thrones. and torques such as the noble wear,
And divers kinds of treasures were displayed,
So that the world was filled with things of price.
The Shah then bade Sudaba: "Keep all these
For Siyawush. When he hath need of them,
Give them to him and say: 'This gift is small;
Thou shouldest have two hundred times as much.'"
Sudaba looked in wonder. Full of guile
She thought: "If Siyawush complieth not,
Then he may take my life and welcome too.
Each practice good and evil, which they use
By stealth or openly throughout the world,
Will I employ; and, should he slight me, bring
A charge accusing him before the king."
How Siyawush visited the Bower the third Time
Sudaba sat enthroned, adorned with earrings
And chaplet of wrought gold upon her head.
She called the prince and said, as they conversed :-
"The Shah hath set these treasures forth, and none
Hath seen such crowns and thrones. The sum of gifts
Is past all reckoning: to carry them
Thou wouldst require two hundred elephants,
And I will give to thee my daughter too.
Now look upon my face and head and crown
What pretext hast thou to reject my love,
And slight my face and person? I am dead
Not seeing thee; I cry out, toss, and suffer
The light of day is hidden by mine anguish,
My sun is turned to lapis-lazuli.
And now for seven years this love of mine
Hath made my face to run with tears of blood.
Make me a happy woman - none shall know -
Vouchsafe to me a day of youth again.
More than the great king hath bestowed on thee
Will I prepare thee - thrones, crowns, diadems;
But if thou turn aside from my behest,
And if thy heart come not to my relief,
I will destroy thy hope of ever reigning
And make both sun and moon turn black before
"Now God forbid," he said, " that I should give
Religion to the winds for passion's sake,
That I should treat my sire disloyally,
And be a coward and a fool at once
Thou art his wife - the sunlight of his throne -
And shouldst not perpetrate a crime like this."
She rose in wrath and hate, clutched him and cried :-
"I told thee my heart's secret, but thine own
Was hidden! In thy folly thou dost aim
To ruin me and show the wise my shame."
How Sudaba beguiled Kaus
She rent her robes and tore her cheeks. A cry
Rose from her bower, her clamour reached the street.
The palace was all hubbub; thou hadst said:-
"'Tis Resurrection-night!" News reached the Shah,
Who hurried from the imperial golden throne
Toward the bower in his solicitude,
And when he found Sudaba with rent cheeks,
And all the palace full of babblement,
He questioned every one in deep concern,
Not knowing what that Heart of stone had done.
Sudaba wailed and wept before him, tore
Her hair, and told him: "Siyawush approached
My throne. He caught me in his arms and cried:-
'My soul and body brim with love for thee.
Oh! why art thou so cold to me, my fair
For thou art all I long for, thou alone? '
This is the truth - I am constrained to tell thee
'Twas he that threw the crown from my black locks,
And rent the robe upon my bosom thus!"
The Shah was troubled, asked her many questions,
And thought: "If she saith sooth, and if she hath
No evil end in view, I must cut off
The head of Siyawush : that will unlock
These bonds of villainy."
What saith the sage
"Not lust but blood our thoughts must now engage."
The inmates of the bower, those well advised
And noble servants faithful to their lord,
He bade withdraw and, sitting on the throne
Alone, called for Sudaba and his son,
And wisely said to him: '' I needs must know
This secret. 'Twas not thou but I that wrought
The ill. I suffer for my thoughtless words
Why did I call thee to the women's house?
Now I am grieved that thou art thus involved.
Let me have all the truth, show me its face,
And say what passed."
The prince related all,
And how he had been wrought on by Sudaba.
She cried: "It is a lie. Of all the Idols
It was my person only that he sought;
I told him what the king of earth proposed
To give him publicly and privily,
Told him about my daughter and the crown,
The precious things, brocade, and treasure-hoards.
I told him: 'I will add as much again,
And give my daughter all that I possess.'
He said to me: 'I do not want the goods,
And do not mean to see thy child. Of all
The world,' he said, 'I need but thee - no more.
No wealth or personage availeth aught
Without thine own self.' Then he tried to force me,
And handled me with hands as hard as stones.
I would not grant his wishes. All my hair
He tore and caused these scratches on my face.
I am with child, O monarch of the world
By thee, but he was near to killing it
With all his struggles, and the world was strait
And dark before me."
Then the great king thought:-
The testimony of them both is worthless,
And this is not a case for instancy,
Because a heart in straits perverteth wisdom.
I needs must first investigate the matter,
And when my heart is calm it will bear witness;
I shall discover which is in the wrong,
And which of them deserveth punishment."
He sought all means of finding out the truth,
And first he smelt the hands of Siyawush,
His breast, his arms, his head, and all his person.
A scent of wine, rose-water, and fine musk
Was on Sudaba; but on Siyawush
«Tas none, nor any sign that he had touched her.
The Shah was troubled, he disgraced Sudaba,
And sorely vexed said to himself: "No course
Remaineth but to put her to the sword."
Then he bethought him of Hamavaran,
How tumult, strife, and battle would ensue;
Next, how, when he was lying there in bonds
And none of all his kin and friends was near,
Sudaba was his handmaid day and night,
And faced the trouble uncomplainingly.
His next thought was: '6 She loved me wholly once
I must forgive her everything," and then
That he had children by her, and he counted
The anguish of the children no light thing.
But Siyawush was blameless in the case,
The monarch recognised his probity,
And said to him: "Be not concerned hereat;
Be prudent and consider well thy going.
Talk not about this thing, tell it to none;
The matter must be kept from every one."
How Suddba and a Sorceress devised a Scheme
Sudaba, conscious that she was disgraced
And that the Shah's heart was estranged from her,
Sought in her evil case some remedy,
And set anew the tree of her revenge.
She had a woman in the bower, adept
In charms and spells, deceit and artifice,
And one moreover who was great with child,
Near to the time of her delivery.
Sudaba told her all and sought her aid,
But said: "First give a pledge of thy good faith."
Sudaba took her pledge, gave her much gold,
And said: "Make mention of this thing to none.
Prepare a drug that thou mayest make abortion,
Remain concealed, and keep my secret close.
It may be that my coil of many lies
May gain some credit through this babe of thine,
For I will tell Kaus : 'This is my child,
Thus murdered by the hand of Ahriman!'
This, it may be, will baffle Siyawush;
So seek a way to compass it. If thou
Refusest then my lustre with the Shah
Is dimmed: I shall no more approach the throne."
The woman said to her: "I am thy slave,
And bow my head to thy command and will."
When it was night the woman took the drug
And gave birth to a brood of Ahrimans -
Tw o children as they had been div-begotten
What should a sorceress and a div produce?
Then, saying nothing to her servitors,'
Sudaba had a golden salver brought
Whereon she laid those brats of Ahriman,
And shrieked and flung herself upon a couch.
She hid the woman and retired to bed
Her wailing reached the palace from her chamber.
Then all the slaves within the palace came
In haste before Sudaba., they beheld
Two infants lying dead upon the salver,
And cries rose o'er the palace and o'er Saturn.
The sound of wailing reached and woke Kaus
Who listened trembling, asked, and heard how fortune
Had dealt with his fair spouse. Sleepless and anxious
He rose at dawn, went in and saw Sudaba
Prostrate, the women frantic, and two babes
In evil plight, flung on a golden salver!
Sudaba rained the water from her eyes,
And said: "Behold this bright sun - Siyawush
I often told thee of his evil deeds,
But thou didst foolishly believe his words."
The heart of Shah Kaus was filled with doubt,
He went his way, remained a while in thought,
Then said: "What remedy shall I apply?
I must not treat the case with levity."
How Kaus inquired into the Matter of the Babes
Kaus then summoned all the astrologers
Before him, welcomed them, assigning each
A golden throne, and spake about Sudaba,
And of the warfare with Hamavaran,
That they might have a knowledge of her case,
And understand her conduct thoroughly;
He also spake at large about the children,
But kept his own suspicions to himself.
They then took planispheres and astrolabes,
And having spent a sennight on the business
Said: "How can wine be in a cup which thou
Hast filled with poison? These are spurious children,
Not from this mother and the monarch's loins
We should have found them on the planisphere
With ease if they had been of royal race,
But know that heaven revealeth not their secret,
Nor is this wonder of the earth."
The Shah and court of that foul, wicked woman.
Sudaba wailed and cried aloud for justice,
She called upon the world-lord for redress,
And said: "I was the comrade of the Shah
When he had suffered and had lost the throne.
My heart is tortured for my murdered babes,
And ever and anon I swoon away."
The Shah replied: "O woman! hold thy peace
Why dost thou utter such offensive words? "
He gave commandment that the troops on guard
Should search the city and the neighbouring parts,
And bring the wicked woman to the court.
The experienced searchers soon discovered her;
Haled the unhappy woman through the streets,
And carried her in shame before the Shah,
Who questioned her with kindness, held out hopes,
And made her promises for many days,
Howbeit she confessed not anything.
The noble Shah was still dissatisfied,
And gave command to bear her forth and use
All means and work by spells, and in the end
To cut her down the middle with a saw
If she persisted, as is common justice.
They bore her from the palace of the Shah,
And threatened her with sword and stake and pit.
The sorceress answered: "I am innocent.
What can I say before this noble court?"
They told the monarch of the woman's words,
And added: "God alone doth know the truth."
The great king bade Sudaba come to him;
The readers of the stars re-said their say:-
"Both babes are clearly children of the witch,
Begotten from the loins of Ahriman."
Sudaba said: "They know a different tale,
But dare not speak for fear of Siyawush,
Who privily hath tied them down to silence.
The lions quake in troops for fear of him,
This chieftain of the elephantine form,
Who hath the strength of eighty elephants,
And stayeth at his will the river Nile!
A noble host, a hundred thousand strong,
Take flight before him in the ranks of war!
How shall I stand against him? In good sooth
Mine eyes will evermore weep tears of blood.
What have the readers of the stars to do
Save his command and seek his approbation?
While as for thee - thou mournest not thy babes,
Albeit they are thine as much as mine.
If thou believest such a foolish charge
I leave the question to the other world."
The sun withdraweth from the river Nile
Less water than Sudaba shed in tears.
The Shah was sorely troubled at her speech;
He joined with her in weeping bitterly,
And then, and with a broken heart, dismissed her.
He brooded constantly upon the matter,
And said: "I will investigate it throughly,
And find out what the bottom of it is."
He summoned all the archmages of the realm,
And spake about Sudaba. One replied:-
"The monarch's grief will not remain a secret.
If thou wouldst clear up what hath been alleged
On each side, throw a stone and break the pitcher,
Because, however dear his son may be,
The Shah's heart will be still disturbed by thoughts,
While this king's daughter of Hamavaran
Hath made thee doubtful on the other side.
Such being then the statements of the pair
Let one of them be made to pass through fire,
Because high heaven ordaineth that no harm
Shall in this way befall the innocent."
The world-lord called Sudaba, seated her
With Siyawush to parley oñ the case,
And said at last: "My heart and my shrewd mind
Trust neither of you; fire will show the truth,
And quickly make the guilty infamous."
Sudaba answered: "What I said is true;
I showed the Shah two babes untimely born
What greater outrage can there be than mine?
'Tis Siyawush that ought to right himself
He sought to ruin me and did the wrong."
The king of earth then asked his youthful son :-
"What seemeth good to thee as touching this? "
He answered: "Such a charge is worse than Hell'
I would pass o'er a mountain all aflame,
'Twere baseness not to rid me of this shame."
How Siyawush passed throztyh the Fire
The thoughts of Kai Kaus ran on them both;
He said: "If either prove a profligate
Will any henceforth call me Shah? Moreover
My son and wife are blood and brain to me;
Whom then will this perplexing business profit?
Still it is best to purify my heart
From foul surmise and take this dreadful course.
How well the moralizing monarch said :-
'If thou art faint of heart play not the king!'"
He gave instructions to his minister
To have a hundred caravans of camels
Brought from the plain. These went to gather firewood,
While all the people of Iran looked on,
Till two huge mountains rose that might be seen
Two leagues away; so should a key be found
To loose the bonds of bale, so much he yearned
To learn the truth amid this fraud and wrong.
When thou hast heard the story thou wilt find
Thyself disposed to shun all womankind;
Seek none of them except the virtuous; she
That worketh ill will bring disgrace on thee.
They piled two mounts of firewood on the plain
While all the folk looked on. A path was left
Such that a horseman armed might hardly pass
Between the piles. This done, the glorious Shah
Bade pour black naphtha over all the wood.
Came ten score men to light and blow the fire,
And thou hadst said: 'The day is turned to night.'
When first they blew there was a mass of smoke,
But presently the tongues of fire rose fast;
The earth became more radiant than the sky,
The people shouted and the flames ascended.
All that were on the plain were scorched and wept
To see the cheery face of Siyawush,
Who came before his sire with golden helmet,
And raiment all of white. His mien was tranquil,
His face all smiles, his heart all hopefulness;
His black steed's hoofs sent dust up to the moon.
The prince then sprinkled camphor o'er himself,
So bodies are prepared for burial,2
And lighting from his charger did obeisance.
The Shah was shame-faced and his words were kind.
"Be not discomfited," said Siyawush,
"That fortune taketh such a turn as this.
I am dishonoured: such a state is ruin.
If I am innocent I shall escape,
While if in fault the Maker will not heed me;
But by the power of God who giveth good
I shall not feel the heat."
As he drew near
The flames he prayed the Judge that hath no needs:-
"Grant me a passage through this mount of fire,
And free me from my sire's misprision."
He testified the anguish of his soul,
Then urged his black steed on like smoke. A wail
Ascended from the city and the waste,
For all the people grieved at what was done.
Sudaba heard the wailing on the plain,
Went to the palace-roof, descried the blaze,
Wished ill to him, and babbled feverishly.
The people fixed their eyes upon Kaus;
Their tongues wagged freely and their hearts were
Meanwhile the prince so handled his black charger
That thou hodst said: "His steed took to the fire:'
From every side the flames closed o'er his head,
And none could see his helmet or his horse,
While all the plain wept tears of blood and asked :-
How How will he ever issue from the flames?"
The noble hero pathless reappeared,
With rosy cheeks and smiles upon his lips.
A roar went up as men caught sight of him
They cried: "The young Shah cometh from the fire!"
He came with horse and raiment such that thou
Hadst said: "He beareth jasmine in his breast:'
Had flame been water he had not been wetted,
His garments would have holden none of it;
For when all-holy God doth so vouchsafe
The breath of fire is even as the wind.
The horsemen of the host urged on their steeds,
While all the people on the plain threw drachms
Before him; there was universal joy
Among the mighty and the mean alike
As each to other gave the gladsome tidings:-
"God hath shown mercy to the innocent."
Meanwhile Sudaba in her frenzy plucked
Her hair, wept bitterly, and tore her cheeks.
When all unsmirched, unsinged, unstained, unled,
The guiltless Siyawush approached, his sire
And all the warriors of the host alighted;
But Siyawush with cheek upon the ground
Gave thanks to God that he had been delivered
Out of that burning mount, and had confounded
His foes' device. Then said the Shah: "Brave youth,
Of stainless lineage and ardent soul!
None but a holy mother bringeth forth
A son like thee, and such should rule the world."
Then clasped he Siyawush against his breast,
Excused his own ill conduct, and in state
Moved palace-ward. He took his seat rejoicing,
And placed the royal crown upon his head.
He had wine brought, the minstrels called, and
The prince whate'er he would. The Shah prolonged
Those revels for three days: till they were o'er
No lock or key was at the treasury-door.
How Siyawush begged Sudaba's Life of his Father
Kaus the fourth day sat upon the throne
Of kings; an ox-head mace was in his hand.
Fierce in his wrath he had Sudaba summoned
Before him, told her what had passed, and said:-
"Thou art a shameless woman! Thou hast wrought
Enough of ill and grieved me to the heart.
What part is this that thou bast played throughout
In treacherously seeking my son's life,
In causing him to be exposed to fire,
And practising such witchcraft? No excuses
Will now avail thee; go and get thee ready;
Thou art not fit to live. The punishment
For such a crime as this is to be hanged."
554 She said: "O Shah! forbear to heap up fire
Upon my head. If I perforce must lose it
In vengeance for the wrong which I have . . . suffered,
Command . . . I am resigned. Yet put revenge
Away. Let Siyawush declare the truth,
And quench the fires within thee. He hath used
All Zal's own sorceries, herein, and therefore
The fierce flames harmed him not."
She said withal
To Siyawush: "Thou usest witchcraft still
Shall not thy back of impudence be bent? "
The great ShAh asked the Iranians : "For the evil
That she hath done by stealth, what shall I do?
How shall I punish her? "
All did obeisance,
And said: "The punishment for her is death
She ought to suffer for her evil deeds."
He bade the deathsman: "Hang her in the street
Upon the gibbet and be pitiless."
At her abandonment the women wailed,
And Shah Kaus was sorrowful of heart;
He strove to hide it but his cheeks were pale.
"Let not thy heart," said Siyawush, " be troubled,
But pardon for my sake Sudaba's fault;
She may be warned and walk advisedly."
"For if," he thought, " she perish by his hand
He will be sorry for it in the end,
And see in me the author of his grief" 2
The Shah, who had been seeking some excuse
For mercy, answered him: "I grant thee this
Because I see that right was on thy side."
When Siyawush had kissed his father's throne
He rose upon his feet, went to the door,
Brought back Sudaba, and escorted her
Home to the palace by the Shah's command,
Where all the women ran to her again,
And did obeisance.
Now in time the heart
Of ShAh Kaus so warmed to her that he
Could not forbear to eye her face in love,
while, for her part, by secret sorceries
She worked on him to ruin Siyawush
According to the evil of her nature.
The ShAh became mistrustful through her talk,
But spake not aught thereof to any one.
When such events are happening men require
Faith, knowledge, wisdom, and the sense of right,
For in proportion as they keep in sight
The fear of God they reach their heart's desire.
Expect not foolishly that thou shaft find
Balm in a place that fate hath filled with bane,
And if Creation be not to thy mind,
It is not in thy charge. Thy wrath restrain.
Besides the manner of the turning sky
Is not to show its visage openly.
Here saith our guide: "Of all affections none
Hath greater influence than kindred love,
And he who hath achieved a worthy son
Must from his own heart woman's love remove,
Because with her the heart and tongue ne'er meet
Look for her head if thou wouldst find her feet."
How Kaus heard of the Coming of Afrasiyab
The Shah was deep in love when news arrived:-
"Afrasiyab hath come with five score thousand
Picked Turkman cavaliers."
He grieved to quit
The banquet-hall for war, but called his lieges,
And said: "Of fire and water, earth and air,
In sooth God did not make Afrasiyab,
But otherwise, who swore so great an oath,
And promised fairly with his tongue, yet now
Is gathering his men of war like dust,
And turning from his oath and covenant!
I must go seek revenge and dim his day,
Perchance destroy his influence in the world;
Else, sudden as the arrow from the bow,
He will array his host, o'ercome Iran,
And waste no little of its fields and fells."
"What is an army for," the archmages said,
"If thou must go in person to the fight?
What need to give such riches to the winds,
And ope the portal of so great a hoard?
Twice in thy haste thy throne's illustrious seat
Hast thou delivered to thine enemies;
Choose some good paladin renowned in war
To take thy place and execute revenge."
The Shah replied: "I see none here that hath
The rank or might to meet Afrasiyab,
And therefore like a vessel o'er the water
Must I set forth myself. Depart, that I
May order matters with my counsellors."
Then Siyawush considered in his heart,
Made of his soul a very wood of thoughts,
And said: "I will conduct this war myself;
I will entreat the Shah and ask this boon.
Perchance All-righteous God will set me free
Both from Sudaba and my sire's distrust
To snare so great a host will bring me fame."
He girt himself, went to Kaus, and said :-
"I am of rank to fight Afrasiyab,
And will bring down his horsemen's heads to dust."
The Maker's purpose was that Siyawush
Should perish in Turan by vile men's plots
When his ill day should come. The Shah consented
To his request with joy, bespake him fair,
Bestowed on him new dignities, and said:-
"My gems and treasures are at thy disposal,
And thou mayst say the army is thine own."
The monarch summoned elephantine Rustam,
And said to him with many gracious words:-
"An elephant hath not such strength as thou,
The Nile is not so bounteous as thy hand.
Thou art of world-renown and slow to speak,
Thou who wast fosterer of Siyawush
When mines of jewels are bound down with iron
They open when thou bindest up thy loins.
Now Siyawush hath come with belted waist
And, like a savage lion, talked with me
His object is to fight Afrasiyab.
Go with him, keep him underneath thine eye;
When thou art watching I can go to sleep,
But when thou restest I must be alert.
Thine arrows and thy scimitar safeguard
The world: thou towerest o'er the moon in heaven.
The peerless Rustam said: "I am thy slave;
To hear is to obey, for Siyawush
Is as mine eye and soul, his crown's top heaven
The Shah applauded him: "May thy
Pure soul and wisdom ne'er part company."
Hom Siyawush led forth the Host
A clang of trump and kettledrum arose
As Tus, the illustrious captain of the host,
Arrived, and troops assembled at the court.
The Shah unlocked his treasures and dinars,
He sent the keys of all his magazines
Of arms, of armour, and of stuffs uncut
To Siyawush, and said: "My house and goods
Are thine, equip thee as thou thinkest best."
Then from his famous cavaliers Kaus
Chose him twelve thousand gallant warriors,
While from the neighbourhood of Kuch and Pars,
Baluch and from the desert of Saruch
And warriors of Gilan, he chose for war
Twelve thousand infantry and buckler-men.
All that were hero-born throughout Iran,
The gallant, wise, and noble, all who had
The stature and the years of Siyawush,
With courage, vigilance, and self-command,
Some also of the mighty men of name -
Bahram and Zanga son of Shawaran, -
And five archmages of the Iranians
To bear the flag of Kawa to the field,
These he commanded to go forth together
Beyond the borders to the desert-plain
Thou wouldst have said: "There is no room still left
On earth for horses' hoofs to stand upon."
The flag of Kawa lifted to the sky
Shone like a moon amid the troops. Kaus
Went with them past the frontier, while the dust
Raised by the host rolled swiftly. He reviewed
The warriors with their bridal bravery
Of elephants of war and tymbal-din;
The noble monarch blessed the host and said:-
' O men of name whose steps are glorious!
Good fortune be your sole companion
May darkness fall upon your foemen's sight.
Be it yours to go with health and favouring stars,
And come back triumphing and glad."
Then set the drums upon the elephants,
Bestrode his steed, and bade his warriors mount,
While Shah Kaus with tearful eyes went forward
One day's march with him. Then the twain embraced,
Both of them weeping like a cloud in spring.
They poured down tears of blood and cried aloud
In their distress, for as they went along
Their hearts gave witness to them that thenceforth
They should not look upon each other more.
Thus fortune ever changeth, and our gain
Therefrom is sometimes balm and sometimes bane.
Kaus turned toward his throne, and Siyawush
Marched with his warlike army from Iran
Toward Zabulistan to visit Zal
With Rustam of the elephantine form;
And there with Zal, the favourite of fortune,
He spent some time with wine and minstrelsy.
At whiles he drank with Rustam and at whiles
Consorted with Zawara, sat rejoicing
Upon the throne of Zal or drew the reed-beds.
A month so passed. Then leaving Zal he marched
With Rustam as his paladin, and warriors
Drawn from Zabul, Kabul, and Hind. Moreover
He summoned famous chiefs from every quarter
Until he reached the desert of Harat.
These furnished footmen not a few. He made
Their leader Zanga son of Shawaran,
And marched toward Talikan and the Marvrud.
Thou wouldst have said: "The heaven greeteth him."
Anon he came to Balkh, and injured none
Ken by a bitter word.'
On the other side
Barman and Garsiwaz led on their power
As 'twere a tempest. Sipahram commanded
The rear, Barman the van. To them there came
News of the youthful chief: "A mighty host -
Famed warriors all - hath issued from Iran. '
The captain of the host despatched by night
A messenger to tell Afrasiyab :-
"A great and gallant host hath come. Its head
Is Siyawush, and there are other princes.
The marshaller is elephantine Rustam,
Whose hands bear one a sword and one a shroud.
If now the monarch so commandeth me,
I will array the host and offer battle;
But do thou gather troops and tarry not,
Because the wind is blowing up the flames."
The bearer of the tidings and his guide,
As they were bidden, urged their dromedaries
Like fire, while Siyawush made no delay
And marched his army on like wind to Balkh.
The Iranian host drew near; it was not well
To wait an answer from Afrasiyab,
And Garsiwaz the warrior looking round
Perceived no course except to offer battle.
So when the army of Iran came up
The fight began about the gates of Balkh,
Where in three days were two great battles fought.
The fourth day Siyawush, the army's Lustre,
Sent infantry against each several gate;
The mighty army entered into Balkh,
While Sipahram fled o'er the stream, and then
Toward Afrasiyab with all his men.
The Letter of Siyawush to Kai Kaus
The prince and army having entered Balkh,
He wrote on silk with spicery and musk
In fitting style a letter to the Shah,
Beginning with the praise of the Almighty:-
"From Him are triumph and success Who is
The Lord of sun and circling moon, and giveth
Crown, throne, and casque their lustre, whom He will
Exalting or dejecting, ordering
Without a why or wherefore, though 'tis wise
To acquiesce. From that just Judge who made
The world, who made the seen and the unseen,
May every blessing be upon the Shah,
All good attend him to the last. I came
To Balkh with joy and triumph through the Grace
Of him who hath the crown and throne - the worldlord.
We fought three days, the fourth God favoured us;
Barmd.n and Sipahram fled toward Tirmid,
Like arrows from the bow. I am encamped
On the Jihun, my glorious helm prevaileth.
Afrasiyab is with his host at Sughd,
While we are still upon the Iranian side;
But, if the Shah shall bid me, I will go
Across the river and attack the foe."
The Answer of Kai Kaus to the Letter of Siyawush
The letter reached the Shah. It raised his crown
And throne to Saturn, and he prayed to God
That this young Tree might come to bearing fruit
Then wrote with joy this letter of reply,
Like shining spring or jocund Paradise:-
"Now through the Maker of the sun and moon -
The World-lord who bestoweth crown and throne -
Mayst thou for ever have a joyful heart,
One painless and untroubled, and therewith
Be thine the victory, and thine the Grace,
The cap of power and throne of majesty.
Thou leddest forth an army to the war
With prosperous fortune and a righteous cause,
And though thy lip still savoureth of milk
The whippings of thy bow burst in the fight'
May thy bright heart attain its every wish,
And may thy person ever keep its prowess
Since thou hast won a victory repose
Is needed for a season, but disband not,
Proceed still further, and improve the occasion,
Because this Turkman is a cunning knave,
A man of high birth but an Ahriman,
Albeit he possesseth crown and power,
Affronting with his head the sun and moon.
Be not in any haste to challenge fight;
AfrasiyAb will come to fight with thee,
And, if he cross Jihun, will trail his skirt
He sealed this, called the messenger,
And gave it with injunctions to return.
The messenger sped over hill and dale,
And came to Siyawush who, when he saw
The letter, was rejoiced and kissed the ground,
Put off the bondage of anxiety,
And carefully observed the Shah's commands,
Not swerving from his duty as a liege.
Thereafter Garsiwaz, the lion-man,
Approached the monarch of Turan, like dust,
And told this grievous and unwelcome tale:-
"The chieftain Siyawush arrived at Balkh
With Rustam as his marshaller, with troops
Past count, and many men of name and leading.
They had full fifty men to one of ours -
Proud warriors, wielders of the buffalo-mace.
Their footmen were like fire, and had shield, quiver,
And shaft. The eagle soared not o'er their dust.
They had no drowsy heads, and this we proved
Three days and nights, and then our troops lost
But with the Iranians he who needed rest
Retired forthwith from where the brave were
And after having slumbered rose refreshed
To make him ready for the fight again."
Afrasiyab raged like a fire. He quitted
The stead of his tranquillity and slumber;
He glared at Garsiwaz, and thou hadst said :-
"Afrasiyab will sunder him in twain. "
Then in a fury that he could not master
He cried aloud and drave his brother out.
Anon he bade a thousand of the lords
Be summoned and a festival prepared.
They put up hangings over all the waste,
And decked all Sughd with ornaments of Chin
The day thus passed away with happiness.
Now when the Eye that lighteth earth had gone
From sight, they hasted to take sleep and rest
Except the king, who tossed about distrest.
How Afrasiyab had a Dream and was afraid
As night advanced Afrasiyab cried out,
And shook upon his bed like one with ague,
While slaves sprang up and sounded the alarm.
Whenas the tidings came to Garsiwaz :-
"The glory of the kingdom is obscured,"
He hasted to the presence of the king,
Beheld him lying on the dusty floor,
Embraced him, questioned him, and said: "Come tell
Thy brother all."
He answered: "Ask me not,
Speak not to me till I regain some wits,
But take and clasp me to thy breast awhile."
Anon on coming to himself he saw
A world of lamentation and of hubbub.
They lighted candles and he took his seat,
Still shaking like a bough, upon the throne.
Then said to him aspiring Garsiwaz:-
"Unlock thy lips and tell us this strange thing."
He answered: "None will see a vision such
As I have looked upon this darksome night
I have not heard of such from young or old.
I saw in sleep a desert full of serpents,
The sky all eagles and the ground all dust,
And so parched up that thou hadst said: 'The heaven
Hath not looked on it since the world began.'
Upon one side my tent-enclosure stood,
And round it was a host of warriors.
A dust-storm rose and laid my standard low,
Blood surged around, the tents and tent-enclosure
Were overthrown, while of my countless troops
The heads were lopped, the bodies spurned aside.
Came like a blast an army from frAn,
What spears they bore and what artillery
There was a head impaled on every spear,
Another was in every horseman's lap.
A hundred thousand of them sable-clad,
And wielding spears, came charging at my throne.
They drave me from the place where I was sitting
Made my hands fast, and hurried me along.
I looked around me well and many a time,
But none of mine own kin was present there.
A haughty and illustrious paladin
Bore me before Kaus the Shah in haste.
A throne was there; its summit reached the moon,
And on the throne was seated Shah Kaus,
The hero, while a youth with moonlike cheeks
Was seated near to him - a youth whose years
Had not yet reached fourteen, who, when he saw
Me standing there before his presence bound,
Came rushing at me like a thundering cloud,
And clave me to the middle with his sword.
I shouted loudly in mine agony,
And with the crying and the pain awoke."
'' The king's dream," answered Garsiwaz, " accordeth
To that which his well-wishers would desire.'
Thy purposes, thy crown, and throne shall stand,
The fortunes of thy foes be overthrown.
We need a man that can interpret dreams,
One who hath pondered much this kind of lore.
Now let us call the wise, all who may be
Skilled in astrology and grammarye."
How Afrasiyab inquired of the Sages concerning his Dream
From far and near the learned in this lore
Assembled at the court to hear the questions.
The king gave audience, placed them in due rank
Before him, spake of matters great and small
With each, and then addressed the company,
The priests, the sages, and astrologers :-
"Tell no one openly or as a secret
This dream of mine, or what I now shall say.
I will not leave the head upon the trunk
Of him who breatheth aught of this affair."
He gave them gold and silver past compute
That they might feel assured, then told his dream.
The sages, having heard the monarch's words,
Asked in alarm protection at his hands,
And said: "We cannot read this dream aright
Unless the king with his own mouth shall promise
That he will do us justice when we tell
What seemeth us."
He promised not to harm
Or to impute the ill to them. Their spokesman,
One shrewd exceedingly and skilled to deal
With delicate affairs, said: "King of the world
I will reveal this secret. From Iran
An army cometh mighty and alert,
The chiefs are brave, the leader is a prince
With many world-experienced counsellors,
Who by his horoscope, though not a Shah,
Will wreck our land. If now the king shall fight
With Siyawush earth will be like brocade,
And not a Turkman will survive; the king
Will grieve at having fought with him, for though
Thy hand will slay him, realm and throne will cease
Within Turan, and earth be filled with strife,
Revenge, and combat on account of him.
Thou shalt bethink thee that my rede is true
What time thy lands lie waste for lack of people.
Although the king become a flying bird
He cannot pass the sky, which as it turneth
Is full at whiles of hate, at whiles of love."
The king grew sad and hasted not to fight,
But told to Garsiwaz the secret, adding :-
"None will seek vengeance if I fight him not;
Thus both shall live, and men will cease from strife
And woe; Kaus will not desire revenge
Upon me, and the earth will not be troubled.
Instead of war and quest of world-wide rule
Be all my dealings peaceful. I will send him
Gold, silver, crown and throne, and precious gems,
For Minuchihr divided earth amiss
And took too small a portion, wherefore I
Will give up some assigned to me at first,
And then mine ills will haply pass from me,
Else will my soul, I fear me, fade away.
When I sew up the eye of fate with treasures
It well may be that heaven will grant me peace.
I only wish for that which is mine own,
And let the harvest be as heaven hath sown."
How Afrasiyab took Counsel with the Nobles
Now when the sky had half revolved, and when
The shining sun displayed its face once more,
The mighty men betook themselves to court
With covered heads to offer their respects.
Afrasiyab convoked the experienced sages,
And thus addressed them: "It hath been my lot
To see no desert but that made by war,
And many great ones of the Iranians
Have perished by my hand upon the field.
What cities have been turned to hospitals
What beds of roses into brakes of brambles!
What uplands have I made my battle-grounds!
My troops have left their traces everywhere.
It is because unjust kings rule the world
That good of every kind is vanishing.
No onagers are breeding in their season
Upon the plains; hawks rear a sightless brood;
Milk faileth in the udders of the game;
The water in the springs is turned to pitch,
And they are drying up throughout the world;
Musk-bags no longer yield the scent of musk;
All that is right is frayed by villainy,
And population faileth everywhere.
My heart is satiate of strife and outrage
Fain would I walk the path of godliness.
Then be we just and wise again; let pleasures
Stand in the place of misery and travail.
For our part let us give the world some respite;
Death should not come upon men unawares.
The more part of the world is at my feet
My court is in fra.n and in Turan,
For see how many of the mighty men
Bring heavy tribute to me year by year!
Now if it be your minds I will dispatch
An embassy to Rustam, and forthwith
Knock at the door of peace with Siyawush,
And send him every kind of precious gift "
The chieftains gave their answers one by one
All were for peace and amity. They said
"Thou art the monarch and we are thy slaves,
With hearts devoted to perform thy hest."
The councillors dispersed with minds intent
On justice, with no thought of strife and turmoil.
Then said Afrasiyab to Garsiwaz :-
"Make all thy preparations for the journey
With speed, and tarry not upon the road.
Choose out two hundred horsemen from the host,
And carry precious things to Siyawush
From all the divers treasures in our hoard.
Take Arab steeds with golden furniture
And Indian scimitars with golden sheaths,
A crown of jewels that a king might wear,
A hundred camel-loads of carpeting,
And take two hundred slaves both boys and girls.
Say thus to him: 'I have no quarrel with thee.'
Hold converse with him and bespeak him thus :-
' I do not set my face against Iran.
All from the bank of the Jihun to Chin
Is mine, my home is Sughd - a realm distinct.
In truth it is through Tur and valiant Salm
That all the world is thus turned upside down,
And since the innocent Iraj was slain
Our warriors' brains have lost their wits. Iran
Is not divided from Turan, but wars
And feuds prevented friendship. Now I trust
That God will give good days and joyful news.
He raised thee from the country of Iran,
And giveth thee the friendship of the brave.
Let thy fair fortune dower the world with peace,
Let war and every evil disappear.
Now Garsiwaz hath come to add his wits
To thine, and as the valiant Faridun
Erst shared the world among his gallant sons,
So be it now. Let us adopt his rede,
And turn our feet from battle and revenge.
Thou art a Shah thyself; speak to the Shah
Perchance his warlike purpose may relax.'
Speak also unto elephantine llustam
In fair words, plying him with arguments,
And, that the business may be carried through,
Give gifts to him like those to Siyawush,
Except a golden throne; no Shah is he;
Thrones are above a paladin's degree."
How Garsiwaz came to Siyawush
So Garsiwaz with those rich gifts, which made
Earth's face look gay, sped on to the jihun,
And there chose one to go to Siyawush,
And say thus: "Garsiwaz hath come in state,
Hath crossed the river in a single day
By boat, and hastened on the road to Balkh."
The envoy came and gave the prince the message.
Then Siyawush called elephantine Rustam,
Discussed the matter from all points of view,
And ordered Garsiwaz to be admitted,
Rose when he came and welcomed him with smiles,
While Garsiwaz afar off kissed the ground,
With downcast looks and terror in his heart.
The prince, first seating him below the throne,
Asked eagerly about Afrasiyab,
And Garsiwaz beholding as he sat
The prince on his new throne, his head, and crown,
Spake unto Rustam thus: "Afrasiyab,
As soon as he had tidings of thy coming,
Dispatched at once a keepsake to the prince,
And I have brought it with me on my way."
He bade his followers to bring the gifts
And pass along in front of Siyawush.
All from the city's gateway to the court
Were horses, drachms, boy-slaves, and troops. None knew
The tale of diadems, dinars, high thrones,
Of slave-boys all with caps and girdles on,
And women-slaves with bracelets and gold torques.
The prince was gratified and smiling gazed
Upon them as he heard the embassage;
But matchless Rustam said: "Come, let us feast
A week and then proceed to the reply,
For this request must be considered well,
And there are many to advise withal."
Far-sighted Garsiwaz on hearing this
Did lowly reverence and missed the ground.
They draped a mansion with brocade for him
And requisitioned cooks; but Siyawush
And Rustam of the elephantine form
Withdrew and sat to canvass all the case,
For Rustam had suspicions through the haste
Of Garsiwaz; they hurried out their scouts
And took precautions. Then said Siyawush :-
"Come, let us bring this mystery to light
What motives can they have for seeking peace?
Look for an antidote for this their bane -
Think of the names of five score noble men,
Close blood-relations of Afrasiyab;
These let him send to us as hostages
To clear the dark suspicions in our minds.
Seest not how fear of us oppresseth him,
And how he taboreth beneath the blanket?
This done we must send one to tell the Shah;
May be he will abandon thoughts of war."
"This is the proper method," Rustam said,
"In this way only will a pact be made."
How Siyawush made a Treaty with Afrasiyab
At daybreak Garsiwaz appeared at court,
With covered head and girdle round his loins,
And having been admitted kissed the ground,
And did obeisance unto Siyawush,
Who said: "How was it with thee yesternight
Amid this great encampment and such din? "
And added: "As for this affair of thine,
I have considered fully thy proposal,
And in our object we are both agreed -
We both would wash out vengeance from our hearts.
Send then this answer to Afrasiyab :-
' Cease now to muse revenge. He that hath seen
The sequel of wrongdoing should recoil
From acting wrongfully. The heart adorned
With wisdom is as 'twere a hoard of gold
And goods. If bane, be not beneath these sweets,
And thou intendest neither wrong nor hurt,
Then, since thou wishest for a stable league,
Dispatch to me by way of hostages,
And as security for•thy good faith,
A hundred members of thy family,
All warriors known to Rustam, who will give
The list of names to thee; and furthermore
Whatever cities thou hast in Iran
Surrender, keep within Turan thyself,
Repose from wars and those that seek revenge,
And let right only be between us two
It is not well to favour savage pards.
I will dispatch a letter to the Shah
He may perchance recall the host in peace."
Then Garsiwaz dispatched a cavalier
Swift as a blast, and said: "Court not repose,
But hasten to Afrasiyab and say
From me : 'I have proceeded diligently,
And have obtained the whole of what I sought;
Brit Siyawush demandeth hostages
If thou wilt have him turn away from war.'"
The messenger arrived and told the king
What Siyawush and noble Garsiwaz
Had said, and when the king had heard the words
He was exceeding troubled and in doubt.
He thus bethought him: "If a hundred men
Of mine own kin are taken from the host,
We shall be worsted on the battlefield
For want of those devoted to my cause;
While if I say: 'Demand no hostages,'
Mine overtures will seem to him dishonest.
I e'en must send the hostages if he
Insisteth thereupon. May be these ills
Will pass away from me : in any case
I shall be better wise than otherwise."
The monarch out of those whom Rustam named
Selected some five score of his own kin,
And sent them unto Siyawush, bestowing
Upon them many gifts and benefits.
He then bade sound the drums and clarions,
He struck the royal tent, evacuated
Bukhara, Sughd, and Samarkand, and Chach,
The land and ivory throne of Sipanjab,
And led his troops upon the way to Gang
Without excuses, pretexts, or delays.
As soon as Rustam heard of this retreat
His mind was eased, he sought the prince and said :-
"All now is well, let Garsiwaz depart."
Then Siyawush gave orders to prepare
A present - armour, crown, and belt, a steed
Of Arab blood with golden furniture,
Besides an Indian falchion in a scabbard
Of gold. When Garsiwaz beheld them, thou
Hadst said: "He seeth the moon upon the ground."
He went his way with blessings on his tongue
Thou wouldst have said: "He rolleth earth along."
How Siyawush sent Rustam to Kaus
Then Siyawush sat on the ivory throne,
And hung the crown above it. He considered
Whom he should send, what man of courteous speech
Whose words had scent and hue, a cavalier
Of valour and a favourite with the Shah.
Then Rustam said: "On such a topic who
Would dare to speak? Kaus is still the same,
His petulance increaseth : what if I
Approach him and make this dark matter clear?
I will rend earth at thy behest. I see
In going naught but good."
Rejoiced, and spake no more of messengers,
But sat with Rustam and discussed the matter,
Then called a scribe and had a letter written
On silk. There first he praised the Judge from whom
He had his fortune, strength, and excellence -
"The Lord of understanding, time, and power,
The Nourisher of wisdom in the soul.
None can transgress His ordinance. The man
Who disobeyeth Him can look for naught
But loss, for He is Author both of wealth
And right. From Hint who fashioned sun and moon,
Who illustrateth fortune, throne, and crown,
Be blessings showered upon our sovereign -
The lord of earth, the chosen of the great,
Whose purview reacheth all things good and ill:
May his tall form be wisdom's pedestal.
I came to Balkh this jocund spring, rejoicing
But when Afrasiyab had news of me
The sparkling liquor darkened in his cup
He saw that he was in a strait; the world
Was black and fortune fallen. His brother came
With gifts and many fair slaves richly dight
To me to seek protection from the Shah.
Afrasiyab will yield the crown and throne
Of kings, content with his own realm; observe
His station; never tread Ir an's dark soil;
But wash all strife and vengeance from his heart,
And send as hostages a hundred kinsmen.
Great Rustam now hath come with this request -
That as the Shah's face is a pledge of love,
He will show love toward Afrasiyab."
The peerless Rustam reached the royal court
In fitting state with flag and retinue,
While loyal Garsiwaz with all dispatch
Went to the presence of Afrasiyab,
Gave him a full account of Siyawush,
And said: "He hath no match among the kings
For beauty, mien, address, and common sense,
Good feeling, modesty, and energy
Brave, affable, a gallant cavalier -
' His breast is wisdom's home,' thou wouldest say."
The monarch smiled and said: "To scheme, my friend
Is better than to fight. The dream alarmed me,
Foreboding, as I saw, my fall from power;
So in distress I turned to artifice
In order to relieve me of my woe
I schemed to work with coin and treasury;
'thus everything hath turned out well for me."
How Rustam gave the Message to Kaus
Now on his side like flying dust came Rustam,
The Lion-man, with folded arms before
The Shah, who met, embraced him, and inquired
About the prince, the progress of events,
The warriors, the battles, and the host,
And wherefore he had come. Then Rustam gave
The letter, first extolling Siyawush;
A ready scribe then read it, and the face
Of Shah Kaus was pitch-like: "I allow,"
He said, "that he is young and all unversed
In ill - no wonder - but thou art a man
Experienced, and hast witnessed good and bad
Of all kinds : thou hast not thy peer on earth,
And Lions grow adept by fighting thee.
Hast thou not seen Afrasiyab's ill deeds -
How he hath robbed us of food, rest, and sleep?
I should have gone myself but I forbore,
Although it was my wish to fight with him.
I went not, for men said: 'Go not thyself
Remain here that the young prince may command.'
When God had meant that vengeance should be taken,
And ills had asked a recompense of ill,
Ye sought to gain a heritage thereby,
And that it was which occupied your hearts.
Afrasiyab hath led your wits astray
By riches plundered from the innocent.
A hundred hapless, misbegotten Turkmans,
Who do not even know their fathers' names
He will think little of such hostages
They are to him as water in a stream.
If ye have dealt unwisely I am not
Sick of the toils of war; I shall dispatch
A man endowed with wisdom and resource,
To bid the young prince : 'Put those Turkmans' feet
In fetters; burn the valuable things,
Retain not one, send me the men in bonds,
And I will take their heads off: Lead thy host
Intent on fight up to the foemen's gate,
At once relax all discipline, and loose
Thy troops like wolves among the sheep; while thou
Revengest, and thy soldiers sack and burn,
Afrasiyab will come to fight with thee,
For ease and peace will yield him no delight.'"
Then Rustam said: "O Shah! be not so moved
Because of this. First hear what I shall say;
And then - the world is under thy command.
Thou saidst: 'In fighting with Afrasiyab
Cross not the river hastily, but wait
Till he attacketh, for he will not linger.'
Accordingly we waited his advance,
But from the first he oped the door of peace;
It would be vile to haste to fight with one
Intent on peace and mirth; and thy well-wishers
Would never wish the Shah to break a compact.
When Siyawush obtained his victories
He charged like some brave crocodile. What wouldst thou
But signet, crown, and throne, the Iranian treasure,
And safety? These thou hast; shun wanton strife;
Wash not a clear heart in a turbid stream.
Suppose that when Afrasiyab consented
He inly purposed to break covenant:
We on our side are ready for the fight
With scimitars and lions' claws. Then thou
And noble Siyawush upon the throne
Of gold shall laugh with gladness in Iran,
While I will lead a small force from Zabul,
And leave Turan no throne or royal seat,
But with the mace wherewith I fight will make
The sunlight gloomy to Afrasiyab;
For he and I have often fought, and he
Will scarcely care to try another bout.
Require not then thy son to break the treaty,
Enjoin not what amounteth to a crime.
Why should I hide the purport of my words?
Thy son will never break his promises,
And this deed that the Shah is contemplating
Will horrify that most illustrious prince.
Dim not his fortunes or it cannot be
But that thine heart will suffer agony."
How Kaus sent Rustam to Sistan
Kaus, the mighty Shah, was filled with wrath
And raged at Rustam with dilated eyes:-
"So then the truth is out at last! 'Twas thou
That prompted this to root up from his heart
Revenge! Thine aim was ease and not the glory
Of signet, crown, and throne. Abide thou here,
And Tus shall mount the drums as general.
I will dispatch a horseman with a letter
Writ in harsh terms to Balkh. If Siyawush
Will not obey he shall resign the host
To Us and come back with his own retainers.
He shall receive fit treatment at my hands
For thwarting me, and nevermore will I
Call thee my friend or have thee fight my battles."
Then Rustam cried in dudgeon: "Heaven may hide
My head! If Tus be valianter than Rustam
Then know that Rustam is a nidering."
He left the presence frowning angrily,
And with his forces hasted toward SistAn.
The Shah anon called Tus and bade him lead
The army forth. Tus coming from the presence
Commanded that the troops should be equipped
With drums and trumpets, be prepared to start,
And put all thoughts of peaceful home apart.
The Answer of Kaus to the Letter of Siyawush
Kaus then warned a courier, called a scribe,
And set him by the throne to write a letter
Of wrath and strife, as 'twere a poplar shaft.
He first gave praises to Almighty God -
"The Lord of peace and war, the Lord of Mars,
Of Saturn, and the moon, of good and ill,
Of Grace and throne. The turning heavens obey
His hest, and everywhere His love extendeth.
May health and fortune be for ever thine,
O youth! together with the throne and crown.
Although thou hast forgotten mine instructions,
And foolishly neglected to attack
The foe, yet thou hast heard how he entreated
Iran when he prevailed; side not with him
In wantonness; frown not upon this court;
Let not thy head be snared through youth as thou
Wouldst 'scape destruction from the turning sky.
Send me those hostages bound hand and foot.
It is no wonder if Afrasiyab
Hath duped thee, if I judge him by his conduct
Toward myself; oft through his glozing words
Have I turned back from fight. Now I said naught
Of peace, and thou hast disobeyed for dalliance
With pretty slaves; while as for Rustam, he
Ne'er hath enough of precious gear and treasure.
Thou hadst no thought of war : thine only thought
Was to succeed to the imperial crown.
Seek with thy sword the gate of full contentment,
For provinces are glories to a king.
As soon as Tus the general reacheth thee
He will dispose all matters great and small.
Set all the hostages without delay
In heavy chains up on the backs of asses.
It is high heaven's purpose that thy life
Should perish by this peace. Then will Iran
Hear of the evil and our prosperous times
Be troubled. Go, prepare thee for revenge
And war, admit no further parleyings.
When, in the course of war and night-attack,
Thou turnest darksome dust to a Jihun,
Afrasiyab will not resign his head
To sleep, but come to fight; else if thou lov'st
And wouldst not have them call thee treaty-breaker
Resign the host to Tus and come back hither:
Thou art no man for glory, war, and strife."
They sealed the letter, and the messenger
Received it and departed. Siyawush,
On hearing words so unacceptable,
Called in the messenger and questioned him
Till all was clear. The man detailed the words
Used by the Shah to Rustam, and described
How Rustam raged against the Shah and ßus.
Then Siyawush was much displeased with Rustam,
And musing o'er his father's act, the Turkmans,
And war's vicissitudes, exclaimed: "A hundred
Brave cavaliers, the kinsmen of the king,
Such famous men, our friends and innocent!
If I shall now dispatch them to the Shah,
He will not ask or think about their case,
But hang them all alive upon the gibbet.
How shall 'justify myself to God?
Ill will befall me through my father's acts;
If I so madly fight Afrasiyab
Without a cause I shall incur God's wrath,
And people will cry shame. If I return
To court, surrendering the host to Tus
That also will bring evil on my head.
I see ill right and left, and ill in front;
Sudaba too will do me naught but ill,
And I have not an inkling of God's will'"
How Siyawush took Counsel with Bahrana and Zanga
Then Siyawush called from the host Bahram
And Zanga son of Shawaran for counsel,
And having put forth strangers wade both sit
Before him. They had shared his confidence
Since Rustam had departed from the host.
Then Siyawush: "Ill fortune ever heapeth
Ill on my head. My sire's affection seemed
A tree all leaf and fruit; Sudaba's wiles
Have made it, one may say, a biting bane.
Her bower became my prison, smiling fortune
Drooped, and as time went on her love bore fire.
Then I preferred war, to inglorious feasts,
So I might shun the Crocodile's embrace.
Our good friend Garsiwaz was then at Balkh
With many troops, Afrasiyab at Sughd
Was threatening us with five score thousand sabres.
We sped as 'twere a blast to seek the fray,
But when they left the province, sending gifts
And hostages, the archinnages held
That we should quit the field. Now if the Shah
Is merely fighting for aggrandisement
He may have war and territory too;
But why such wanton bloodshed, such revenge
Stirred up in others' hearts? The brainless head
Will ne'er know good from bad. Kubad came, died,
And left the world; from that time all was lost.
My deeds please not Kids, who fain would harm me,
Requiring me to fight without a cause.
I fear that I shall perish through mine oath,
But still we must not turn from God, or fear
To follow our forefathers' steps. The Shah
Would rob me of both worlds, and yield me up
To Ahriman! If we should fight again
Who can foretell the fortune of the day?
Would I had died, or never had been born,
Since I am fated to endure such bale
And taste of every poison in the world;
And yet the tree hath not attained full growth
Whose fruit is venom and the leafage loss!
Such are the treaty and oaths sworn by God
That, if I swerve from what is right, disaster
Will come on every side; I shall be blamed
Deservedly. The world hath heard that I
Have treated with the monarch of Turan.
Will God approve or fortune profit me
If I desert the Faith and fight again -
A fall from heaven to earth? I will go look
For some retreat to hide me from the Shah.
Meanwhile the ordering of this bright age
Is in His hands Who is the Judge of all.
Do thou, famed Zanga son of Shawaran!
Prepare for toil; haste to Afrasiyab;
Give not thy head to sleep. The hostages,
And all the precious things - dinars, crowns, thrones -
Convey to him and tell him what hath chanced."
He charged Bahram son of Gudarz: "To thee,
Famed man! have I resigned the host and march,
Drums, camp, and elephants. Remain till Us
The general shall arrive, then give to him
The treasures and the troops in perfect order,
Accounting unto him for everything."
Bahram was sorely troubled when he heard,
While Zanga son of Shawaran wept blood,
And cursed the country of Hamavaran.
The two sat there together full of grief,
Distracted by the words of Siyawush.
Bahram said: "Nay, not so: thou canst not live
Without thy sire. Write to the Shah and ask
To have the elephantine hero back;
Then, if Kaus still biddeth thee, fight on;
'Tis but a trifle if not trifled with.
Or wouldst thou rest? It may be done with ease;
To beg thy father's pardon is no shame.
If thou wilt send the hostages to him
His heart and gloomy soul will smile; if thou
Art so concerned about them let them go,
There is no hostage for thyself. This letter
Commandeth war, and all may yet be well,
For if Kaus doth bid us we will fight,
And bring our foes to straits. Think not vain thoughts,
But capture him by complaisance, and cause not
Bad times for us now that the tree of power
Is fruiting; fill not eyes and crown and throne
With blood, and shrivel not the royal tree.
Ill will befall throne, crown, host, camp, and court
Without thee, for the brain-pan of Kaus
Is as a Fane of Fire, his war and letter
Are both absurd; but if heaven's purposes
Oppose my rede, why say I more? "
Refused the counsel of those two wise men,
So heaven willed. He said: "The Shah's command
Is higher than the sun and moon to me;
Yet none from straws to elephants and lions
May brave God's word, and he that disobeyeth
Hath troubled wits and is beside himself.
Must I put forth my hand for shedding blood, ,
And lead two kingdoms into war? Besides
He is aggrieved about the hostages,
And will demand again what I refused;
While if I quit the field, returning home
Without a fight, the Shah will be incensed
And in his fury harm me. If your hearts
Are troubled by my action heed me not;
I will be mine own guide and messenger,
And quit the camp-enclosure on the waste.
When one is no partaker in my gains
Why should he take to heart my pains?"
He spike the souls of those two chieftains withered;
They wept at dread of parting and consumed
As in fierce fire; they saw the evil eye
Of fortune secretly upon the prince,
That they would never look on him again,
And wept his case. Said Zanga: "We are slaves
Love for our leader filleth both our hearts.
Now may our souls and bodies ransom thee,
And may our loyalty endure till death."
The gentle, prudent prince replied to Zanga :-
"Go tell Afrasiyab of what hath chanced.
Say: 'Through this peace my lot is one of war
Thine are the sweets, the pang and poison mine,
Yet will I keep my covenant with thee
Albeit I shall lose the throne of might.
God is my refuge, heaven my covering,
The ground my throne. I rashly disobeyed
And cannot face the Shah. Give me a cistern
Where God appointeth and I may not hear
Aught of the evil nature of my sire,
But find for once a respite from his ire.'"
How Zanya went to Afrasiyab
So Zanga, with a hundred noble horsemen,
Bore from the prince's court the hostages,
And all the goods that Garsiwaz had brought.
When Zanga reached the Turkman monarch's city
A shout ascended and the watch espied him.
A noble warrior Tuwurg by name
Went forth to welcome him. At audience
Afrasiyab arose, embraced him warmly,
And set him by the throne, where he presented
The letter and delivered all the message.
Afrasiyab was much disquieted
And, having ordered fitting entertainment
For Zanga, called his captain of the host,
Who came like smoke. Now when Piran arrived
The monarch cleared the room and spike with him
About Kaus and his intemperate words,
His evil nature and his warlike projects.
Afrasiyab looked grave, his heart was full
For Siyawush. He told of Zanga's coming,
And asked: "What remedy shall I employ,
How make a league in this embarrassment?"
Piran replied: "O king : live happily
While time shall be. Thou art more wise than we are;
In treasure and in manhood mightier;
In apprehension, kindness, understanding,
And counsel, none hath wit to supersede thee.
All that have power to benefit this prince
Will grudge not toil and treasure. I have heard
That there is no chief like him in the world
In stature, countenance, and gentleness,
In culture, counsel, and propriety.
His prowess and his wisdom too exceed
His noble birth. No monarch hath begotten
Another such; words cannot do him ,justice.
He is a prince illustrious and right royal.
If he possessed no virtue but this one -
That he hath quarrelled with his sire to save
Our hundred nobles' lives, given up the throne
And crown to meaner men, and gone his way,
'Twould not be politic to let him pass
From us. Besides Kaus is hoary now;
The time hath come for him to quit the throne;
But Siyawush is youthful, hath the Grace,
And will succeed. The nobles would condemn thee,
And Siyawush himself would be aggrieved.
If now the king in wisdom shall see fit
Let him dispatch to this wise youth a letter
Entreating him as men entreat their children;
Prepare him here a dwelling, entertain him
With fitting honour, give him a princess
To wife, and let him be esteemed and cherished.
If he remain thy realm will be in peace,
If he go home thy fortune will be bettered,
For he will be in favour with the Shah,
And honoured by the nobles; both the hosts
May rest, God making him the instrument.
It would be worthy of the Maker's justice
To rectify the age in this regard."
The monarch listened to Piran and, seeing
What would result, took time to estimate
The good and ill thereof; he then rejoined :-
"Thou counsellest well. Among the chosen chiefs
And veterans thou art incomparable;
Yet have I heard an adage to the point:-
If If thou shouldst make a lion's whelp thy pet,
And foster it however tenderly,
Still, when its teeth and claws are grown, regret
Will be thy lot. The brute will turn on thee.'"
Piran said: "Let the king of warriors look
With wisdom on this matter. Can ill nature
Befit one who hath not inherited
The ill nature and perverseness of his sire?
Dost thou not see that Kai Kids is old
And must depart? Then Siyawush will take
The wide world, wealth untoiled for, hall and palace;
Thus wilt thou gain both realms, their crown and state
The man that getteth them is fortunate."
How Afrasiyab wrote to Siyawush
Afrasiyab, when he had heard this, took
A wise resolve, called an experienced scribe
And spake to him at large about the matter.
The scribe first dipped his pen in ambergris,
Then wrote the Maker's praise, acknowledging
His might and wisdom: "Since He is above
Both time and place how can His slaves' thoughts reach
To Him - the Lord of wisdom, sense, and soul,
Whose justice is the provand of the sage?
His benediction be upon the prince -
The lord of helm and mace and scimitar,
The lord of modesty and reverence,
Pure from wrongdoing both in heart and hand.
From wary Zanga son of Shawardn
Have I heard all thy message, and my heart
Is troubled that the world-lord is enraged
So much against thee; but what seek the wise,
Whose fortunes are awake, save crown and throne?
Here everything hath been prepared for thee,
E'en to the royal dignity and treasures,
For all Turan will do thee reverence,
And I for my part long to have thy love.
Then thou and I will be as son and sire -
A sire who is a slave before his son.
Know that Kaus hath never shown affection
For thee like mine, for I will ope my heart,
My hoards, and hand, provide thee with a home,
Protect thee like a son, and leave thee here
As my memorial. Shouldst thou go elsewhere
I should be blamed by high and low alike;
And thou wilt find the going difficult,
Except by Providence and Grace divine,
For yonder thou must lose the sight of land,
And cross the sea of Chin. If no constraint
Is put on thee by God come as a friend.
Troops, treasure, gold, and city all are thine,
And thou shalt need no pretext for departing,
For when thou wouldst be friendly with thy sire,
I will provide thee crown and throne and girdle,
With soldiers to escort thee to Iran,
And bear thee company myself for love.
The quarrel with thy father will not last;
At his age he will soon be sick of strife.
If fire appeareth after sixty-five
It cometh hardly from the damps of age.
Iran and host and treasure will be thine,
And crown with sovereignty from clime to clime;
Moreover I have sworn by holy God
To labour, soul and body, for thy welfare.
I will not harm thee by myself or others,
Or wrong thee even in thought."
He sealed the letter,
Then bade his good friend Zanga gird his loins
To go with speed, and gave him many gifts
Ot gold and silver, and a steed caparisoned
With massive gold. When Zanga gave his tidings
The prince was glad and sorry too to make
His foe a friend. Would fire give cooling breezes?
A foe, however kind thou mayest be,
Will in the end display his enmity.
How Siyawush gave up the Host to Bahram
Then Siyawush wrote thus to Kai Kaus
To tell him all: "Though young I want not wits.
While I have done no wrong, the world-lord's temper
Hath burned my heart within me. First Sudaba
Occasioned trouble; I was forced to traverse
A mount of fire; my heart's blood bathed my cheeks,
And in the wastes the deer wept sore for me.
Then went I forth in shame and woe to face
The claws of Crocodiles. Both kingdoms now
Enjoy repose, yet is the Shah's heart like
A sword of steel; my doings please him not,
And if I bind or loose 'tis all the same.
Since he is weary of me I will cease
To trouble him. Ne'er may his heart lack joy.
As for myself I seek the Dragon's breath
In sorrow, doubtful what the turning sky
Intendeth for me - whether hate or love."
Then said he to Bahram : "Now give thy name
Fresh glory in the world; I leave with thee
The baggage and the camp, the cavaliers,
The treasure, elephants, and kettledrums.
When noble Tus shall come, resign thy charge
To him, be vigilant and fortunate."
He chose three hundred doughty cavaliers,
Had brought to him such money as he needed,
With jewels fit for kings, a hundred steeds
With golden furniture, a hundred slave boys
With golden belts, and had a reckoning made
Of weapons, beasts, and girdles. Then he summoned
The nobles, spake in many gracious words
To them, and said: "Piran hath crossed the river,
Sent by Afrasiyab on secret business
To me, because his people trust in him.
I go to meet him; ye must tarry here.
Look to Bahram for orders and obey
The chiefs all kissed the ground
Before the glorious Siyawush.
When air grew dark and earth ungenial,
The prince, his face obscured by tears, marched forth
Toward Jihun with all his company.
When he had reached Tirmid, doors, roofs, and streets
Were full of scent and colour like the spring
Up to the gates of Chach : thou wouldst have said:-
"It is a bride with crown and necklaces."
At every stage were carpets laid and viands
Prepared, the whole way to Kachar Bashi,
Where he dismounted and remained a while.
When Tus reached Balkh they told him bitter news:-
The son of glorious Kai Kaus hath gone
To join the leader of the Turkman host."
Tus called in all the troops and marched them back
To court. The news made Kai Kaus turn pale;
He mourned and heaved a deep, cold sigh; his heart
Was full of fire, his eye of tears for wrath
With Siyawush and with Afrasiyab;
But, doubtful if the sky would prove a friend
Or enemy, he put away his anger,
And thought no more of warfare and revenge.
On hearing: "Siyawush hath crossed the river
With troops to us, his envoy hath arrived,"
Afrasiyab bade all the chief estates
Go forth with kettledrums to welcome him.
Piran chose out one thousand of his kin
To meet the prince with gifts, apprised the host,
And gat him ready four white elephants.
One bore a turquoise throne backed by a flag
Of tree-like size, surmounted by a moon;
The flag was gold-embroidered violet silk;
Upon the golden throne were three gold seats,
And each of them was covered with brocade.
There were a hundred noble steeds whose saddles
Were jewelled gold. The host, thou wouldst have said,
Was like the earth when graced by heaven's love.
When Siyawush had heard: "A company
Hath come," perceived the banner of Piran,
And heard the sound of elephants and steeds,
He hurried forth, embraced Piran, inquired
About the king and kingdom, and exclaimed:-
"Why hast thou vexed thy soul by coming hither,
O captain of the host? My heart's first wish
Was to behold thee safe and sound."
Kissed his fair, charming face, his head and feet,
And thus addressed the Maker: "Thou know'st all
The open and the secret. Hadst Thou shown me
His soul in dreams, in sooth mine aged head
Had been made young."
He said to Siyawush :-
"Now that I see thee radiant and robust
I offer praises to Almighty God.
Afrasiyab will be a father to thee,
The chiefs this side the stream will be thy slaves.
Above a thousand of my kin will wait
On thee with earrings in their ears, my treasures
Are all thine own; be ever hale and happy.
Draw not a single breath of discontent,
For men and women are alike thy slaves,
And, if thou wilt accept my hoary head,
I too will gird my loins to do thee service."
They went with joy, discussing divers matters,
While through the city there were sounds of harp
And rebeck; sleepy heads were roused; the soil
Was blackened with fresh musk; the Arab steeds
All spread their wings. When Siyawush saw this
Tears rained from both his eyes, his thoughts were
For he recalled the hocktide in Zabul
When it was decked up to Kabulistan,
And he had gone as guest to Rustam there
With all the famous men for company,
And how the folk had showered down gold and gems,
And sifted musk and ambergris o'erhead.
He thought about iran and heaved a sigh,
His heart burned with the memories of home.
He turned his head to hide this from Piran,
Albeit that chieftain marked the grief and pain
He understood the thoughts of Siyawush,
Grew sorrowful himself and bit his lips.
They lighted at Kachar Bashi to breathe
Awhile. Piran scanned Siyawush, and marked
With wondering eyes his speech, breast, neck, and
Invoked God's name, and said: "Illustrious prince
Thou art the memory of sovereigns,
And hast three things that not a prince beside
Possesseth. First, thou makest men discern
The nature of the seed of Kai Kubad;
While secondly, thou hast adorned thy tongue
With such uprightness and such goodly speech;
And thirdly, one would say: 'Thy face distilleth
Thy love on earth in showers.'"
The prince replied:-
"O venerable sage who sayest sooth,
World-famed for thy sincerity and love,
Far from unkindness and from Ahriman!
If thou wilt make a covenant with me
I know that thou wilt keep it, and will make
This land my home in love and confidence
In thee, my friend! and, if my sojourn here
Is well, I need not weep for what I did
If otherwise command me to depart,
And point me out the way to other realms."
Piran replied: "Have no such thought. Since thou
Hast left Iran, in no wise hasten from us,
And lose our monarch's love. Though his repute
In this world is not good, he is a man
Of God, hath wisdom, prudence, and high cede,
And turneth not in lightness to bad ways.
He is my blood-relation too; with him
I have, as paladin and counsellor,
High rank, abundant treasures, thrones, and troops.
Above a hundred thousand cavaliers
Obey me here. Twelve thousand of my kinsmen
Stand day and night before me. I have land,
Flocks, lassos, bows, steeds, implements of war,
And hoarded treasure; I need no man's aid.
Let all this be thy ransom if thou wilt
Abide with us. I swear by Holy God
That I will serve thee both with heart and soul.
I will not suffer any ill to thee ....
But no man knoweth high heaven's purposes."
The prince rejoiced, his heart was freed from care.
They sat and ate, and grew like sire and son,
Then in high spirits sped along the road
To Gang - the Turkman monarch's fair abode.
The Interview of Siyawush with Afrasiyab
On hearing: "Glorious Siyawush hath come,"
Afrasiyab descended to the street
Afoot with girded loins right eagerly.
The prince beholding him got off his horse
And ran to meet the king. The two embraced,
And kissed each other's head and eyes. Then said
Afrasiyab: "Now evil is asleep
Throughout the world; henceforward war and tumult
Will cease; the deer and pard will drink together.
The world was troubled by brave Tur, but now
Our realms are sick of strife; while they were filled
With turmoil the world's heart had no repose;
Peace is restored by thee; the age hath rest
From battle and hot blood, all in Turan
Are now thy slaves, all hearts are full of love
For thee; in soul and body I am thine;
Piran the general is thy kinsman too.
I will regard thee with a father's fondness,
And ever show to thee a face all smiles."
Then Siyawush with many blessings answered:-
May May justice be the fortune of thy race.
Praise to the Lord, the Maker of the soul,
From Whom are peace and battle and revenge."
The monarch, hand in hand with Siyawush,
Sat on the throne of might, and as he gazed
Upon the prince, said: "None can equal him
On earth in stature, looks, and kingly Grace."
Then to Piran: "Kaus is old and witless
To lose sight of a son so tall and gifted
As this. I marvelled, when I first beheld him,
How any man with such a son could look
At aught besides."
He made choice of a palace,
Laid cloth of gold for carpets, set a throne
Of gold with feet like heads of buffaloes,
Bedecked the palace with brocade of Chin,
And furnished it throughout, then bade his guest
Go thither and abide in full content.
When Siyawush arrived before the hall
Its dome reached Saturn, he went in and sat
Upon the golden throne, his wise soul wrapped
In thought, until the monarch's board was spread,
And he was summoned; there they talked together,
And entered on a course of happiness.
The banquet o'er they went with harp and minstrel
To hold a drinking-bout. They sat and quaffed
Until the world grew dark and heads became
Bemused with wine, then Siyawush went home
With glee, and in his cups forgot Iran.
Afrasiyab gave heart and soul to him,
And could not sleep for thinking. That same night
He said to Shida: "When the morn shall come,
And Siyawush hath risen, go to him
With mine own kinsmen and the paladins
Of highest rank, take with you noble steeds
Caparisoned with gold, and other gifts:'
Accordingly the warriors presented
To Siyawush gold coins and royal gems
With courteous greetings, and the king too sent
Him many gifts. Thus was one sennight spent.
How Siyawush displayed his Prowess before Afrasiyab
One night the king spake thus to Siyawush :-
"To-morrow morning let us play at polo;
I hear that none among the warriors
Can face thy mall on thine own ground:'
Said Siyawush, " be fortunate and ever
Beyond the reach of ill! Kings look to thee
For teaching.; who surpasseth thee? Day shineth
When I behold thee, from thee I accept
Both good and ill."
"My son! be ever glad and conquering.
Thou art a prince, the glory of the throne,
A royal crown and backbone of the host."
They went out laughing to the Ground at morn
In gallant trim. Then said Afrasiyab
To Siyawush: "Let us be opposites,
Select our partners, and make up our sides."
He answered: "What will hand and mall avail?
I cannot play against thee. Take some other
As thine antagonist, I am thy partner -
One of thy horsemen on this spacious Ground."
The monarch was delighted at his words,
Esteeming those of others only wind.
"Nay, by the life and head of Shah Kaus,"
Said he, " thou shalt be friend and opposite.
Display thy prowess to the cavaliers,
So that they may not say: 'He chose amiss,'
But give thee praise while I laugh out with wonder."
Then Siyawush replied: "'Tis thine to bid
The cavaliers, the Ground, and malls are thine."
Afrasiyab selected for his side
Kulbad, Pulad, Piran, Jahn, Garsiwaz,
With Nastihan the gallant, and Human,
Who would drive balls from water. Then the king
Sent over to the side of Siyawush
Ruin, illustrious Shida, and Arjasp
The mounted Lion, and Andariman
The doughty cavalier.2 Said Siyawush
"Ambitious king! will any of these dare
To face the ball? They side with thee, while I
Shall have to play alone arid watch them too.
So with the king's leave I will bring to help me
A few Iranian players on the Ground
In order that both sides may play the game."
The monarch heard the words, gave his consent,
And from the Iraanians Siyawush chose seven
Well skilled. The tymbals sounded, dust arose,
While what with cymbal-clash and clarion-blare
Thou wouldst have said: "The ground is all a-quake
Afrasiyab hit off and drove the ball
Up to the clouds just as it should be struck.
Then Siyawush urged on his steed and smote
The ball, or ever it could reach the ground,
So stoutly that it disappeared from sight.
Thereat the exalted monarch bade his men
To give another ball to Siyawush,
Who as he took it kissed it, and there rose
A flourish from the pipes and kettledrums.
He mounted a fresh steed, threw up the ball,
And drove it out of sight to see the moon.
Thou wouldst have said: "The sky attppcted it."
There was not on the ground his peer, and none,
Had such a beaming face. The monarch laughed,
The nobles grew attentive and exclaimed
"We never saw a rider like this chief!"
The famous monarch said: "Of such a kind
Is each one gifted with the Grace of God;
But Siyawush hath bettered all report."
The attendants set a throne beside the Ground,
The monarch beaming sat down with the prince,
And told the company: "The Ground and balls
Are at your service."
Then the fraanians played
A match with the Turanians. Dust flew up
With shouts as these or those bore off the ball;
But when the Turkmans played too angrily
In their endeavours to obtain a goal,
And when the Iranians intercepted them
So that the Turkmans' efforts were in vain,
Displeased with his own people Siyawush
Cried to them in the olden Persian tongue :-
"Is this a playground, or would ye cause strife
In our dependent and precarious state?
When ye are near the limits look aside
And let the Turkmans have the ball for once."
His horsemen rode more gently after this
And did not heat their steeds, then as the Turkmans
Were shouting for a goal Afrasiyab
Perceived the purpose of the words, and said:-
"I have been told by one of mine own friends
That Siyawush hath no peer in the world
For archery and might of neck and shoulder."
Thereat the prince uncased his royal bow;
The monarch, having asked to see it first
That one of his own kin might prove its strength,
Regarded it with wonder, and invoked
Full many a royal blessing, then presented
The bow to Garsiwaz the sworder, saying:-
"Bend thou this bow and string it."
Failed, to his great amazement. Siyawush
Took back the bow and sitting on his knees
Bent it and strung it, smiling. Said the king :-
"With this one might shoot over sky and moon!
I too in days of youth had such a bow,
But times are changed, and no one in our lands
Would dare to grasp this bow when war is toward,
Save Siyawush, and he with such a chest
And arms would wish none other on his charger."
They placed a target on the riding-ground,
And Siyawush, who challenged none to shoot,
Bestrode his wind-foot charger like a div,
Gripped with his legs, and shouted as he went.
In sight of all the chiefs his arrow hit
The bull's eye. Then he set upon his bow
Another shaft, of poplar wood, four feathered,
And in the same course hit the second time.
Next wheeling to the right he hit the target
Just as he would. This being done he flung
The bow upon his arm, approached the king,
And lighted from his steed. The monarch rose:-
"Thy skill," said he, " is witness to thy race."
Returning to the lofty palace thence
They went with happy hearts as bosom-friends;
There took their seats, arranged a drinking-bout,
And summoned skilful minstrels to attend.
They quaffed no little wine, grew glorious,
And drank the health of Siyawush. The king
While sitting at the board arranged a gift -
A horse and trappings, throne and diadem,
Uncut stuffs, such as none had seen before,
Gold coins, and silver coins in bags, turquoises,
With many girl and boy slaves, and a cup
Which brimmed with shining rubies. Then the king
Commanded to count up those precious gifts,
And certain of the dearest of his kinsmen
To bear them to the house of Siyawush.
Thus said he to his troops: "In everything
Regard the prince as if he were your king."
How Afrasiyab and Siyawush went to the Chase
Afrasiyab said to the prince: "Come with me
Some day a-hunting to refresh our hearts,
And banish all our troubles in the chase."
"Whene'er thou wilt," he answered, " whereso'er
Thy heart disposeth thee to lead the way:'
One day they went. The king took hawks and
And many of Iran and of Turan
Of all conditions hastened to the meet.
The prince spied onager upon the plain,
And, sped from his companions like the wind,
With reins held lightly and feet firmly pressed
He galloped o'er the hollows and the hills,
And, having, cloven an onager in halves,
Made them the silver and his hands the scales,
And found the two sides equal to a grain.
The king and all his train watched eagerly,
Exclaiming: "What a noble swordsman this!"
And one man to another called and said:-
"Ill from Iran hath come on us erewhile,
And our brave leaders have been put to shame
Now is the time to fight against the Shah."
But Siyawush still chased his onagers
And spread destruction over all the plain.
He galloped over valley, hill, and waste,
Employing arrow, spear, and scimitar.
Where'er he went he piled a heap of game,
And killed enough for all the company.
Thence to the palace of Afrasiyab
They took their way with gladness in their hearts.
The monarch in his pleasures and his griefs
Held intercourse with none but Siyawush,
Confided not in Jahn and Garsiwaz,
Or other such; he took no joy in them,
But passed with Siyawush his days and nights
In merriment. Thus while a year went by
They shared all griefs and pleasures equally.
How Piran gave his Daughter to Siyawush
One day Piran conversed with Siyawush
And in the course of talk said: "In this land
What man surpasseth thee? Our monarch's love
Doth make him talk of thee e'en in his sleep.
Know that thou art to him as jocund spring,
His idol, and the solace of his griefs.
Great art thou and the son of Kai Kaus;
Thy many virtues raise thee to the moon;
Yet since thy sire is old, and thy heart young,
See that thou lose not the imperial throne.
Thou art a king both here and in Iran -
A noble monument of former monarchs -
Yet see I none, among thy blood-relations,
That looketh on thee with abundant love
Throughout Turan I find none fit to be
Thy peer, thy partner, or antagonist.
Thou hast no brother, wife, or sister; thou
Art like a single rose-branch in a coppice.
Look for a consort worthy of thyself,
And cease to sorrow and regret Iran;
It will be thine when Kai Kids is dead,
And thine will be the crown and warriors' throne.
The curtains of the king conceal three maidens,
All richly dight, such that the moon itself
Perforce must gaze upon, and Garsiwaz
Hath also three of noble race on both sides
Through Faridun related to the Shah,
With crowns and high estate. I too have four -
Slaves if thou wilt. The eldest-born - Jarira -
Unmatched among the fair shall be thy handmaid."
Then Siyawush: "I give thee thanks. Henceforth
Regard me as thy son. She is the meetest
Because for me alliance with thy house
Is best. She will rejoice my soul and body
I want none else; herein thou layest on me
A life-long obligation."
Left Siyawush he hasted to Gulshahr,
And said: "Prepare Jarira's wedding outfit
In favour of the exalted Siyawush.
Shall not we joy to-day when we receive
The grandson of Kubad as son-in-law? "
Gulshahr led forth her daughter, having set
A coronet upon the maiden's head,
Arrayed her with brocade, gold, drachms, dinars,
Adorned and scented her like jocund spring,
And then presented her to Siyawush.
They thus espoused her to the prince, and set her
Like a new moon upon the throne. None knew
What wealth she brought, how many golden seats
Inlaid with gems. When Siyawush beheld
Her face she pleased him, and he laughed for gladness.
He joyed in her by night and day: his heart
Thus heaven revolved awhile,
And ever as time passed the atheling
Increased in rank and favour with the king.
How Piran spake to Siyawush about Farangis
The good Piran said to the prince one day:-
"Thou knowest that the king our sovereign lord
Exalteth o'er the dome of heaven his crown,
And that by night and day thou art his soul,
His heart and intellect, his might and wisdom;
If thou shouldst be allied to him by marriage
Thou wouldst increase in greatness with each breath.
Now since my daughter hath become thy wife
I tender all thy interests great and small,
And though Jarira hath much charm, and thou
Didst choose her out of all, it would become thee
To take a jewel from our monarch's skirt.
Of his fair daughters Farangis is best
Thou wilt see nowhere else such face and hair.
She bettereth the cypress-tree in stature;
Her musky tresses form a sable crown;
Her parts and knowledge pass her loveliness,
While wisdom standeth as a slave before her.
Thou mayst well ask her of Afrasiyab.
Where is a beauty like her in Kashmir,
Or in Kabul? The noble king will be
Thy kinsman, and thy Grace and throne will shine.
With thy permission I will speak to him,
And thus win from him favour for myself"
Then Siyawush gazed on Piran and said
"God's word must be fulfilled; none can withstand
Heaven's secret purpose. If I may not go
To see Iran, the face of Kai Kaus,
Or Zal who was a foster-sire to me,
Or matchless Rustam - mine own jocund Spring
Bahram or Zanga son of Shawaran,
Or Giv, Shapur, or other mighty men,
If I must needs be severed from their sight,
And have to choose a home within Turan,
Do as thou sagest and arrange a match,
But speak not of it save in privacy."
While thus he spake he heaved a deep, cold sigh,
And filled the lashes of his eyes with tears.
Piran made answer : "Every man of wisdom
Will let his circumstances rule his action.
Thou canst not scape the turning of the sky
Whence come our retributions, wars, and loves.
Grant that thou hadest friends within Iran:
Thou didst commend them unto God and leave them.
Thy house and home are here; the Iranian throne
Is not at present to be made thine own."
How Piran spake with Afrasiyab
Piran, thus having learned the prince's wishes
On all points, rose, proceeded to the court
In merry pin, dismounted, was admitted,
And stood awhile before Afrasiyab,
Until the king, who loved him well, spake thus:-
"Why standest thou before me this long while?
What wish hast thou on earth? What is thy purpose
My host, my treasures, and my gold are thine,
For me thou profitest in every thing.
If I have any prisoner in bonds,
Whom 'twould be grief and danger to release,
Yet will I take from him my chains and wrath,
And for thy sake turn anger into wind.
Ask what thou wilt - a great thing or a small,
E'en sword or signet, throne or diadem."
The sage replied: "May this world praise thee ever'
As for myself, I have wealth, treasure, host,
And, by thy fortune, sword and crown and throne.
I bring in private for the royal ear
A long suit on behalf of Siyawush,
Who said: 'Say to the monarch of Turan :-
"I have grown blithe of heart and covet fame.
Thou like a sire hast reared me on thy breast
Till joy hath caused my fortune to bear fruit.
Extend thy kindness, make a match for me,
For I depend on thee in weal and woe.
Thou hast a daughter now behind thy curtains
Well worthy of my palace and my throne
Her mother named her Farangis, and I
Shall find my pleasure in deserving her." '"
Afrasiyab grew grave, tears filled his eyes.
He said: "Concerning this I have already
Told thee my views, and thou didst not approve them.
A sage of lofty rede once said to me:-
'O thou that fosterest a lion's whelp'
Why lay upon thy soul a fruitless task?
Thou toilest to complete his excellence,
But at his fruiting thou wilt cease to bear.
His fosterer will be the first to feel
His claws when he is strong enough to fight.'
Again, in presence of the mighty men,
Archmages learned in astrology
Took observations with their astrolabes,
And all gave utterance to the same effect
That my child's son would do me wondrous hurt,
Destroy my throne, my treasure, provinces,
My host, and palace, and that I should find
No place of refuge; he would seize the realm,
And by his deeds bring evil on my head.
Why should mine own hand plant a tree whose fruit
Is bane with colocynth for leaves? A child
Sprung from Kaus and from Afrasiyab
Would prove a fierce flame or an ocean-wave.
I know not whether love will take the prince
Back to Iran, or fix all his regards
On us; but why drink poison wittingly?
One must not lightly take a serpent's breath.
While he remaineth he shall be a brother
To me, and if he goeth to Iran
I will dispatch him to his sire in state
On such wise as the All just shall approve."
Piran replied: "O king! Let not thy heart
Be grieved hereat. Those born to Siyawush
Will be possessed of wits, reserved, and shrewd.
Trust not what readers of the stars may say,
Deal with his case according to thy wisdom,
For from this noble pair a prince will spring,
Whose head will be exalted to the sun
As king both in Iran and in Turan.
Then those two kingdoms will repose from strife.
The seed of Faridun and Kai Kubad
Will ne'er produce a more illustrious Plant,
While, if the sky shall purpose otherwise,
No taking thought will make it love him more.
What is to be will be beyond all doubt;
No caution minisheth what is to wax.
See what a glorious enterprise is this!
Ask what thou wilt of fortune and 'tis thine."
Afrasiyab replied: "Ill cometh never
Of thine advice. I order as thou wishest;
Depart and carry out thy kindly purpose."
Plran bent low, did reverence, gave great praise,
And so departed, came to Siyawush,
And told him all. That night the joyful pair
Sat o'er their wine and from their souls washed care.
The Wedding of Farangis and Siyawush
Now when the sun upon the turning sky
Displayed its head as 'twere a golden shield,
Piran the chief girt up his loins and mounting
A swift steed rode toward the prince's palace
To wish him joy of his high dignity,
And said to him: "Prepare thyself to-day
For welcoming the daughter of the king,
And if thou hold'st me worthy of the oface
I will myself make ready to escort her."
The prince was moved and blushed. He loved his wife,
The daughter of Piran, as his own heart
And soul, but said: "Go, do whate'er thou wilt
Thou knowest that from thee I have no secrets."
Piran on hearing this went to his home
With heart and soul intent upon the business.
The door-key of the store-house where he kept
His uncut stuffs Piran gave to Gulshahr,
Who was the chief wife of the paladin -
A lady much esteemed a.nd bright of mind.
They chose the best things in the treasury -
A thousand lengths of cloth of gold from Chin,
With emerald-studded plates, cups of turquoise
Filled with fresh aloe-wood and musk-deer's glands,
Two crowns of jewels worthy of a king,
Two bracelets with two earrings and one torque;
Of carpets likewise sixty camel-loads,
Three sets of raiment made of cloth of gold
With patterns traced in gold of ruddier hue,
With divers kinds of jewels sewn therein;
Of gold and silver thirty camel-loads,
With salvers and apparel made in Pars,
A golden throne, four seats, three pairs of shoes
With emeralds patterned on a golden ground,
Two hundred servants bearing golden cups
(Thou wouldst have said: "The house will not contain them!"),
Three hundred servants wearing crowns of gold,
About one hundred kinsmen of the king,
Each with one tray of musk and one of saffron
These with Gulshahr together with her sisters,
In golden litters curtained with brocade,
Went in procession with the precious things.
The lady took a hundred thousand coins -
Dinars - to fling among the crowd. They brought
The goods to Farangis and blessed her too.
Gulshahr then kissed the ground and said to her
"The planet Venus mateth with the Sun."
Piran, for his part, and Afrasiyab
Were instant on account of Siyawush.
They gave the bride as custom and their Faith
Required, and had the contract duly witnessed.
As soon as they had finished pact and plight
Piran dispatched a message to Gulshahr
Like smoke that she should go without delay
To Farangis to take her to the prince.
Thereon Gulshahr told happy Farangis
That she should go that night to Siyawush,
And ornament his palace with a Moon.
She spake. They decked the bride at once and ranged
Her musky tresses o'er her rosy cheeks.
Then like a new moon Farangis approached
That youthful prince, the wearer of a crown.
They joyed in one another and their love
Grew ever greater as the moments sped.
For one whole week slept neither fowl nor fish,
And no man went to rest; the earth became
A very garden through its whole extent
With sounds of minstrelsy and merriment.
How Afrasiyab bestowed a Province on Siyawush
Thus passed the sennight, then the king prepared
Great gifts of Arab steeds, sheep, coats of mail
Withal, helms, maces, lassos, and dinars,
With purses full of drachms, suits of apparel,
And things both great and small. They drew a list
Of lands and cities 'twixt the sea of Chin
And their own march; the region was in length
A hundred leagues, its breadth no man could measure.
For all that sovereignty in royal fashion
They made the patent out on painted silk,
Which with a golden throne and golden crown
The king sent to the house of Siyawush.
He next prepared the hall of banqueting,
And those that came to it from far and near
Found wine, and tables ready spread, and cooks;
Folks eat, and whatsoever each could carry
He took away with him to his own home
The monarch's guests thus passed a week in joy.
He opened wide the dungeons' bolted doors,
Exulting as the favourite of fortune.
The eighth day Siyawush with brave Piran
Approached the king at dawn for leave to go
To their own homes. Both offered compliments,
And said: "O gracious worldlord ' may thy days
Be ever joyous and thy foes' backs bent."
Thence they returned rejoicing and their talk
Was all about the monarch of the world.
Thus for a year in justice and in love
The circling heaven turned and brought no care;
Then from the presence of the monarch came
A friendly messenger to Siyawush,
And said: "The king saith: 'O illustrious chieftain
I have bestowed upon thee all the realm
From here to Chin: go round and view the lands.
In any city where thou findest ease,
Contentment, and no more to be desired,
Abide in gladness and prosperity;
Stint not thy soul one moment of delight.'"
Then Siyawush, rejoicing at his words,
Struck up the pipes and drums, and packed the loads.
A host accompanied him on the way
With arms and treasure, signet-ring and crown.
They fitted many litters and arranged
The curtains for the ladies. In one litter
The prince placed Farangis and, having loaded
The baggage-train, led forth the company.
They went with merriment toward Khutan
With all the famous men escorting them,
Because Piran, that general favourite,
Was of that state, and Siyawush had promised
To spend a month with him. The days were passed
In banqueting or in the hunting-field
Until the month was ended; then there rose
The din of drum at cock-crow, and the prince
Went to his realm, preceded by Piran,
And followed by his troops. The news got wind,
And all the nobles sought their overlord.
They set forth from their homes with joyful hearts,
And, as the custom was, bedecked the land,
And there was such a bruit within that realm
That thou hadst said: "The earth is raised to heaven."
Such were the din and blast of clarions
That thou hadst said: "All hearts leap from their seats."
They found one day a cultivated tract
It was a goodly and well favoured site,
On one side mountains, on another sea.
Upon a third side was a hunting-ground,
Secluded, full of trees and rivulets -
A place to make the old heart young again.
Then to Piran spake Siyawush and said:-
"See what a noble site these fields afford
Here will I fashion me a goodly seat
To be my heart's delight, a spacious city
Containing palace, hall, and pleasure-grounds
I will exalt the buildings to the moon,
And make them worthy of the crown and throne."
Piran replied: "O thou of goodly rede
Accomplish all that thy heart purposeth.
If thou shalt bid, according to thy plans
I will erect a moon-attaining seat;
I ask thee not for treasure or for lands,
And for thy sake reck not of time or place.
And Siyawush rejoined: "O blessed one
Thou bring'st the tree of greatness into fruit.
thine are my weal and wealth; I notice first
In every place thy toil on mine account.
I will erect a city on this ground
Such that beholders shall remain astound."
How Siyawush built Gang-dizh
I open now the door of history -
The charming record of the days of yore -
To speak of Gang-i-Siyawush to thee,
The city, and the city's ancient lore.
Praise be to Him by Whom the world was wrought,
The Maker of the unknown and the known,
The Lord of being and not being; aught
Besides hath peers, but God is One alone.
Praise to the Prophet, and to those who bore
Him company our praises be addressed,
And since the righteous flourish here no more
Speak not of taking this world for thy rest.
Where are the heads and crowns of kings of kings?
Where are the gallant, noble athelings?
Where are the doctors and the scientists?
Where are the labour-bearing annalists?
Where are the modest fair who charmed the sight,
And gently uttered words of graciousness?
Where is the nestling of the mountain-height,
Inured to scorn, discomfort, and distress?
Where he that touched the cloud-rack with his head,
And whither is the lion-hunter gone?
They have but bricks and dust to form their bed,
And he that sowed good seed is blest alone.
From dust we come and shall return to dust,
And all is dread, distraction, and distrust.
The world will outlast thee; its mysteries
How wilt thou ken? 'Tis full of instances;
Shall we ignore them? Six and sixty years
Hast thou been scheming: turn thy face away
From toil and emulation. Thy compeers
Left thee in multitudes while thou didst stay
A greedy hand upon the world to lay,
And shalt thou not at last be e'en as they?
List to the story of a bygone day.
Since earth is void of those illustrious men
Why should ambition's crown be sought by thee?
In their days justice ruled the world, and then
Earth flourished under their supremacy.
So listen to the tale that I shall tell
About Gang-dizh, and see thou mark it well,
Because the world hath not in any part
Another place so grateful to the heart
As that which Siyawush built up of yore,
And no small travail in its structure bore.
There is a wilderness across the sea -
An arid waste. Beyond it is a land
Inhabited, whose cities furnish thee
With all provision ready to thy hand.
Thou wilt perceive a mountain farther on
Unmatched in loftiness, and thereupon
Gang-dizh. It is no hurt for thee to know
That 'tis one hundred leagues around below,
And eyes that look aloft are dazed anon.
Explore and thou wilt still be at a loss
To find the way of access to the place;
The rock is three and thirty leagues across,
Presenting everywhere a solid face.
If only one man harnessed for the fray
Were stationed for each league, to find a way
A hundred thousand men would not avail
On barded steeds and clad themselves in mail.
A spacious city next will meet thine eye
With rose-beds, gardens, open space, and hall,
Stream, river, and hot baths, while minstrelsy,
Perfume, and brilliant hues pervade it all.
The hills are stocked with game, the plains with deer.
Once having seen it thou wilt tarry here,
And in thy rambles o'er the higher ground
Will pheasants, peacocks, partridges be found.
No winter's frosts to summer's heats succeed,
There is no lack of food, repose, or mirth,
Thou wilt not see a single invalid;
In short it is a paradise on earth.
The water here is wholesome, clear, and bright,
The whole champaign in vernal garb is dight.
Its length and breadth have thirty leagues extent
According to the Persian measurement,
And one league and a half in altitude
'Twould weary any one to scale the height,
And when the place is from the summit viewed
None ever saw a scene more exquisite.
When Siyawush had visited the place
He chose it out of all iran to bear
His name, and built of marble, stone, cement,
And some material to us unknown,
A wall above one hundred cubits high
And eight and thirty broad; the hold out-ranged
Both shaft and catapult, but thou shouldst see
The place itself, for one that hath not seen it
Will, thou wouldst say, be angry with the poet.
The prince endured much hardship thereabout
All for the sake of greatness, throne, and crown,
And made himself in that delightful spot
A charming seat with palace, hall, and park.
He planted many trees, and made the place
Like Paradise, and for its flowers chose
Narcissus, tulip, hyacinth, and rose.
How Siyawush discoursed with Piran about the Future
The noble Siyawush went with Piran
One day to see the place whereof the sight
Would make the aged young. It was delightful,
With treasuries everywhere fulfilled with wealth;
And this imperial seat pleased Siyawush
More than all other seats of kings and nobles.
When they were leaving SiyAwush was sad,
And asked the astrologers: "Will this abode
Secure me Grace and fortune, or shall I
Regret what I have done? "
They all replied :-
"This place will not prove very fortunate."
The prince was angry with the astrologers;
His heart, was full of pain, his eyes shed tears;
His hand relaxed his swift-paced courser's reins,
And hot tears trickled down. Piran exclaimed:-
My My lord! what is the cause of this distress? "
"High heaven," he said, " hath filled my heart and soul
With pain and trouble, since what I amass,
My home, and treasury, will be my foe's
At last. Ill will be ill and I shall die.
The fairest spot in this world is Gang-dizh
Where by the Grace of Him Who giveth good
My wisdom and my fortune have not slept,
And I have raised the summit to the Pleiads.
Still am I busy gathering works of art,
But when the place is decked, and precious things
Abound, mine own enjoyment will be short;
Another will be seated in this palace.
The joy is not for me, or for my child,
Or hero of my race. My life will close
Ere long; I shall not want a hall or palace.
Afrasiyab will have this for his throne,
And death will overtake me for no fault
Of mine. Such is the mystery of heaven
With its vicissitudes of joy and grief!"
Piran replied: "My lord! encourage not
Vain thoughts, Afrasiyab safe-guardeth thee,
And on thy finger is a royal signet.
I also, while my soul is in my body,
Will strive to keep my faith to thee unbroken;
I will not let the wind pass over thee,
Or breezes tell the hairs upon thy head."
Then Siyawush: "O honourable man'
I see that honour is thy one desire.
Thou knowest all the secrets that I have,
Thou who art shrewd of heart and sound of limb
Now will I tell thee by the Grace of God
What I have learned of heaven's purposes,
And advertise thee what will be hereafter
When I am gone from halls and palaces,
So that thou mayst not, seeing such, exclaim:-
'Why were they not disclosed to Siyawush?'
Piran, thou warrior exceeding wise!
Hear what I say; no lengthy time will pass
Ere by the hand of our shrewd-hearted monarch
I shall, though guiltless, cruelly be slain.
Another will possess this crown and throne.
Thou wilt prove just and true, but heaven's purpose
May not be thwarted. By a slanderer's words,
And evil fate, my blameless head will sufler,
iran will be in conflict with Turan,
Revenge will make life wretched, and the earth
Will be in travail through its length and breadth;
The scimitar of feud will rule the age.
Thou wilt see many standards from Iran
Approach Turan - red, yellow, black, and violet -
With ravaging and bearing off of spoil,
How Afrasiyab sent Piran to the Provinces
How Siyawush built Siyawushgird
Though it be pleasant whither thou hast gone,
And griefless there, yet quit thy realm and bring
The heads of evil-wishers to the dust."
The chieftain packed the baggage and set forth
With all speed as the king commanded him.
A thousand female camels with red hair
They loaded up with various merchandise.
He made a hundred camels carry treasures
And drachms, while forty others bore dinars.
Ten thousand swordsmen went along with him -
Picked horsemen from Iran and from Turan -
Preceded by the baggage-train and litters
With lovely ladies in their bravery.
Of rubies and turquoises fit for kings,
Or torques and diadems inlaid with gems,
Of ambergris, of aloe-wood, and musk,
Of spicery, brocade, and silken cushions,
From Pars and Chin and Mizr were thirty loads.
The leader and his noble retinue
Proceeded till they came to blithe Bahar.
When he arrived he pointed out a site
Two leagues in length and breadth. Thereon he built
A city famous for its rosaries,
Its lofty palaces, and orchard-grounds.
He limned within the hall full many a picture
Of kings, of battle, and of banqueting,
And painted there Kaus with mace and armlets,
Crowned on his throne, with elephantine Rustam,
With Zal, Gudarz, and all that company.
Elsewhere he limned Afrasiyab, his army,
Pirdn, and Garsiwaz the vengeful one.
That pleasant city was the talk of all
Good men both in Iran and in Tllraan.
At every corner was a cupola,
Whose summit reached the clouds. There minstrels sat
And sang while chiefs and warriors kept guard
Around. Siyawushgird the common voice
Called it; that city made all hearts rejoice.
How Piran visited Siyawushgird
Now when Piran returned from Hind and Chin
All men were talking of the glorious city,
For, founded on the auspicious day of Ard,
Siyawushgird was famed throughout Turan.
He heard of palace, orchard, garden, hall,
Plain, streamlet, hill, and dale, and longed to see
What Siyawush had done with that fine site.
Piran took with him all his retinue -
A thousand wise and valiant warriors -
Men fit to share with him in the rejoicings.
On his approach the prince went with the host
To welcome him. Piran on catching sight
Of Siyawush alighted; as did Siyawush,
Who clasped him closely. Coming to the city
They went around what erst had been a thorn-brake,
But then lamp-bright with palace, hall, and pleasance.
The chief Piran went everywhere, invoked
Full many a blessing on the prince, and said:-
"If Grace and royal height and wisdom too
Were not thine own in this thine undertaking
How could results like these have been achieved?
Be this thy monument among the brave
And noble till the Resurrection-day,
And may thy sons and sons' sons live rejoicing -
World-lords triumphant and magnanimous."
Piran surveyed part of that jocund city,
Then reached the hall and grounds of Siyawush,
And in high spirits and ambitious hopes
Proceeded to the home of Farangis.
The daughter of the king met, greeted him,
And proffered him a handsel of dinars.
When, seated on the throne, he looked around,
And saw the crowds of servants standing by,
He uttered many words of thankfulness,
And praised the Maker; then they fell to feasting
With wine, cup-bearers, meats, and minstrelsy,
And thus they passed a sennight wine in hand,
Now blithe and joyous-hearted, now bemused.
On the eighth day Piran produced the presents
Brought from abroad, and other fitting gifts
Of rubies, royal jewelry, dinars,
Brocade, crowns all inlaid with precious stones,
And steeds with golden furniture, the saddles
Of poplar-wood, their pummels leopard-skin.
He gave a coronet to Farangis,
With earrings, bracelets, and a jewelled torque,
Then went upon his way toward Khutan
In order to attend his sovereign.
On reaching home he spake thus to Gulshahr :-
"Whoe'er hath seen not jocund Paradise,
And known what things Rizwan hath planted there,
Should see this splendid place, this paradise
Of thrones and palaces, where Siyawush,
The wise and glorious, sitteth like the sun
Inside the palace of the blest Surush.
Allow thyself the pleasure of a visit;
The lord is goodlier than his city; thou
Wouldst say: 'He lighteth up the Occident"
See Farangis - all loveliness and lustre,
As 'twere a two weeks' moon beside the sun."
Swift as a bark that speedeth o'er the sea
He went thence to Afrasiyab, and told
What he had done, what tribute he had brought,
How he had battled in the land of Hind,
And laid ill-doers' heads upon the dust.
The monarch asked how Siyawush had prospered,
And of his city, province, crown, and throne.
Piran replied: "WHower shall behold
The springtide-gaiety of Paradise
May in good sooth mistake this place for that,
And this illustrious monarch for the sun.
I saw a city such that none will see
Its like on earth in Chin or in Turan.
What with its wealth of gardens, halls, and streams,
Thou wouldst have said: 'There wisdom mixed with mind!'
One must dismiss fault-finding where is naught
To blame. When from afar I saw the palace
Of Farangis 'twas like a hoard of jewels
As bright as light. If now Surush should come
From Paradise he would not have the Grace,
The majesty, the common sense, the splendour,
And ordered usance of thy son-in-law,
Who is as good as thy glad heart would wish.
Both realms too rest from strife and stir, like men
Restored to reason. Mayst thou ever have
The rede of princes and the heart of sages."
The monarch gladdened at the words on hearing
That this his Bough of promise was in bearing.
How Afrasiyab sent Garsiwaz to Siyawush
Afrasiyab made known to Garsiwaz
Piran's account without suppressing aught,
And said: "Go blithely to Siyawushgird,
And scan it well. The heart of Siyawush
Is on Turan; he thinketh not of home
Now that he hath farewelled the throne and crown,
Farewelled Gudarz, Bahram, and Kai Kaus.
He looketh not to Rustam son of Zal,
Nor taketh mace or battle-ax in hand,
But hath erected, where was once a field
Of thorns, a city like the jocund spring,
Hath raised a lofty dwelling-place therein
For Farangis, and holdeth her in honour.
Prepare to visit noble Siyawush,
Say little when thou seest him on the throne,
But judge him from a monarch's point of view
At chase, at wine, on mountain or on plain,
And in assemblies, show him all respect
Before his nobles and exalt his name.
Prepare for him exceeding many gifts
Of horses and dinars, of crowns and girdles,
As well as jewelled thrones, brocade of Chin,
And armlets, maces, swords, and signet-rings,
With carpeting and trinkets of all kinds.
See what thou findest in the treasury,
And take besides a gift for Farangis.
Go thou with naught but praises on thy tongue,
And, shouldst thou find a joyous, smiling host,
Abide two sennights in that jocund city."
Thereat the noble Garsiwaz selected
A thousand cavaliers, men of repute,
To go with all speed to Siyawushgird.
The prince when news arrived went forth with troops
To welcome Garsiwaz; the two embraced
And Siyawush inquired about the king,
Then going back provided for his guests.
Next morning early Garsiwaz drew nigh
And brought the monarch's message and the gifts.
When Siyawush saw what Afrasiyab
Had sent him he was like a rose in spring;
Then mounting on his proudly stepping steed,
And followed by the Iranian cavaliers,
Took Garsiwaz about the place, and when
He had shown all went to his home again.
The Birth of Farud the Son of Siyawush
At that time came to Siyawush like wind
A cavalier who brought good tidings, saying:-
"The daughter of the captain of the host
Hath borne a babe as 'twere the shining moon -
A glorious child, whom they have named Farud,
And when Piran at night received the news
He bade me and another cavalier
Go bear the joyful tidings to the prince.'
The mother also of the precious babe -
Jarira, chief among the high-born dames -
Commanded from her couch the slaves to smear
The infant's hand with saffron, and to take
The impression on this letter's back, and said:-
'Bear this to Siyawush, whose wish is granted,
And tell him: "Stricken though I be in years,
Yet notwithstanding God hath made me glad." '"
Then Siyawush thus answered: "May this babe
Ne'er leave the seat of majesty unfilled!"
And gave the messenger so many drachtns
That he who bare them wearied of the weight.
When Garsiwaz had heard the news he said :-
"Piran to-day is equal to a king."
They sought the house of Farangis with joy
And told her those glad tidings. Garsiwaz
Beheld her sitting on her ivory throne,
A crown set with turquoise was on her head,
While many slaves with golden caps were standing
With moon-like cheeks in presence of the Moon.
She came down from her throne and, greeting him,
Inquired about his longsome journey's toil;
But Garsiwaz was wroth, was wholly changed,
And thus he thought: "Let but a year pass thus
And Siyawush will care for nobody;
Throne, kingdom, host, and treasure will be his."
He writhed but hid his feelings, and exclaimed
With pallid cheeks to Siyawush: "Thou hast
The fruit of toil, enjoy the gains for life!"
They took their seats within the golden hall
Upon two jewelled thrones of gold, rejoicing
In fortune; minstrels and cup-bearers came,
And Garsiwaz, amid the joy and din
Of minstrelsy, forgot his own chagrin.
How Siyawush played at Polo
Now when the bright sun made the distance clear,
And showed its face from heaven to all the land,
The prince went from his palace to the Ground
To play at polo. Garsiwaz came up
And drove the ball, which Siyawush pursued
And caught it fairly with the polo-stick,
While his Opponent only found the dust.
The ball struck by the prince was seen no more
Thou wouldst have said: "The sky hath drawn it up!
Then to his eager followers he said
"I leave the ball and sticks and Ground to you.
Whenas the warriors came upon the Ground
The Iranians in the tussle took the ball,
While Siyawush rejoiced at their success,
And looked as 'twere a noble cypress-tree.
He bade a golden throne be set and contests
With javelins to take place, both princes sitting
Upon the throne to watch the combatants.
The cavaliers rushed on the Ground like dust
And, dart in hand, began to strive for honour.
Then Garsiwaz spake thus to Siyawush :-
"O king renowned, the Memory of kings!
Thy prowess is still greater than thy birth
Vouchsafe to let the Turkmans witness it
Display before them just for once what thou
Can'st do in javelin-play and archery."
The prince, who laid his hand upon his breast
At this, arose and mounted on his horse.
They bound together coats of mail five thick -
Coats any one of which would tire a man -
And set them up at one end of the Ground,
While all the troops stood looking. Siyawush
Took up a royal spear wherewith his father
Fought in Ma.zandaran and slaughtered lions.
He went upon the Ground, this spear in hand,
And plied his reins like some mad elephant.
He pierced the coats of mail and bore them off;
The links and joints alike had given way.
The charge thus made he raised his spear erect
And flung the coats of mail about at will.
Then valiant Garsiwaz and other horsemen
Went on the Ground with their long javelins,
And many gathered round those coats of mail,
But found not one whose fastenings had not yielded.
The prince then called for four shields of Gilan,
With two cuirasses also of bright steel,
And likewise for his bow and poplar shafts.
With six thrust through his belt and three in hand
He set another on his bow and gripped
His saddle firmly. Then in sight of all
He shot the ten shafts, piercing every time
The shields and both cuirasses. Old and young
Applauded and invoked the name of God.
"Thou hast, O prince!" said Garsiwaz to him,
"No equal in Iran or in Turan.
Come now! Let us two go upon the Ground
Before this company, there let us grasp
Each other's leathern belt as warriors
Would do in battle. I have not a peer
Among the Turkmans, thou wilt see few steeds
Like mine, and thou in the Iranian host
Art matchless both in prowess and in stature.
If I shall take thee from thy charger's back,
And throw thee to the ground, acknowledge me
Superior both in prowess and in might,
While if thou layest me upon the earth
I wheel no more upon the battlefield."
But Siyawush made answer: "Speak not thus.
Thou art a prince, a Lion of the fray;
Besides thy charger is a king to mine,
Thy helmet is Azargashasp to me.
Make choice of some one else out of Turan
To strive with me, but not by way of fight."
Then Garsiwaz: "O seeker of renown!
No harm will come of pastime such as this."
But Siyawush replied: "It is not well
I cannot fight thee. Two opposed in sport
Fight on in earnest; anger filleth them
Although they smile. Thou art the monarch's brother,
And tread'st the moon beneath thy horse's hoofs;
I will perform thy bidding but not break
Our good relations by an act like this.
Call from thy friends some Lion of the fray,
Let him be mounted on this swift-paced steed,
And if thou art resolved that I should fight,
And lay the heads of proud ones in the dust,
I will endeavour not to be disgraced
Before thy presence, O illustrious prince!"
Ambitious Garsiwaz was flattered, smiled,
And thus addressed the Turkmans: "Noble men:
Who is there fain to make his mark on earth?
Who will be matched with Siyawush and lay
The chief of all the nobles in the dust!"
The Turkmans heard him and their lips were locked.
At length Gurwi the son of Zira said:-
"I am prepared to fight if Siyawush
Hath no antagonist."
The prince's face
Was full of frowns and sternness at the words,
But Garsiwaz said unto him: "O prince!
No warrior in our host can match Gurwi."
Then Siyawush: "I hold it but a trifle
To fight with any noble but thyself
Two warriors should be chosen out of these
To strive with me upon the battlefield."
There was another noble Night Damur,
Who had no equal in Turan in strength.
He, when he heard the words of Siyawush,
Came and made ready swift as smoke for fight.
They wheeled about, and Siyawush began
By snatching at the girdle of Gurwi,
And holding by the buckle lifted him
And flung him on the plain, but used no mace
Or lasso. Then he turned upon Damur
And, catching him about the neck and body
In firm embrace, unhorsed him with such ease
That all the chiefs were lost in wonderment.
The prince thus bore him safe to Garsiwaz;
Thou wouldst have said: "He carrieth a bird!"
Then, having lighted down and disengaged,
He sat down laughing on the golden throne;
But Garsiwaz was wroth at that exploit;
His heart was sullen and his cheek was pale.
They hied them homeward from their golden seats,
"Raised," thou hadst said, "o'er Saturn in the ascendant,"
And all the famous men and fortunate
Assembled for a week with harp and wine.
Upon the eighth day they prepared to go,
And Siyawush in spite of what he knew
Yet wrote a letter to Afrasiyab,
Full of submission and kind interest,
And gave unstinted gifts to Garsiwaz;
Anon the Turkmans left that noble city
Rejoicing, and conversed about the land
And most accomplished prince; but Garsiwaz
The vengeful said: "Mishap hath come to us,
For from Iran the king hath summoned one
Who causeth us to sit in blood disgraced.
Fierce Lions like Damur and like Gurwi -
Both battle-loving warriors - became
Thus abject, helpless, and contemptible
When clutched by one foul-hearted cavalier.
He will push matters further, and I fail
To see in our king's actions head or tail."
How Garsiwaz returned and spake Evil before Afrasiyab
He went thus minded to the Turkman court
Without repose or sleep. Afrasiyab
Asked many questions which his brother answered
And gave the letter; this the smiling king
Perused with joy. The famous noble marked
The brightened features of Afrasiyab,
And sunset found him all revenge and anguish.
All night he writhed and when its pitch-hued robe
Was riven by clear day his vengeful head
Still slept not, and he sought Afrasiyab.
They sat and talked in private. Garsiwaz
Said to his brother: "Siyawush, O king
Hath wholly changed, the envoys of Kaus
Come often secretly, he correspondeth
With Rum and Chin, and drinketh to his father.
Moreover he hath gathered many troops,
And soon will vex the king's soul. Had not Tur
Become so fierce he had not wronged Iraj,
But now our hearts resemble fire and water
Opposed; thou wouldest, but in vain, unite them,
And keep the tempest hidden out of sight.
Had I withheld this trouble from thy knowledge
I should have smirched my name before the world."
The king was grieved and said to Garsiwaz :-
"The bond of blood between us moveth thee.
We will take counsel with ourself three days
For more assurance; if the case be clear
It shall be thy part to undo the coil."
The fourth day Garsiwaz appeared at court
With helmet on and tightly girded loins.
The monarch called him to an interview,
Talked much about the case of Siyawush,
And said: "O thou memorial of Pashang?
Whom have I in the world at hand but thee?
I must disclose the secret of my mind;
Observe what thoughts occur to thine. My heart
Was troubled at that evil dream, my brain
Affected somewhat, yet I kept from war,
And Siyawush for his part hurt me not.
When he farewelled the throne of might he made
My love the weft across his wisdom's warp.
He was obedient and I used him well.
I gave to him a province and my treasure,
But kept my griefs and sorrows for mine own.
I bound him to me by the ties of blood,
Foregoing thoughts of vengeance on Iran,
And did not grudge my treasures or my child,
But trusted him with both my precious Eyes.
Now, after all these pains and benefits,
And sacrifice of province, crown, and wealth,
For me to purpose ill to Siyawush
Would raise no little outcry. If I do
An injury however slight to him
The mighty men will cry out shame on me,
And I shall be a butt for every one.
Of beasts the lion hath the sharpest teeth,
His heart is not afraid of scimitars,
And if a whelp of his shall be aggrieved
He will lay all the meadow desolate;
Moreover if we persecute the guiltless
How shall the Judge of sun and moon approve?
I know none else that I can take to me,
Yet now I will dismiss him to his father.
So, if he seeketh throne and signet-ring,
He will not make our coasts the scene of strife."
But Garsiwaz: "O king! treat not so lightly
This grave affair. If he departeth home
He will bring desolation on our coasts,
For when an alien is made a kinsman
He learneth all thy secrets great and small.
A sage once spake a proverb as to this:-
'Domestic storms that burst externally
Will prove but travail and distress to thee,
And dissipate wealth, fame, and family.'
Dost thou not know that he who reareth leopards
Will get no recompense but pain and strife? "
Afrasiyab, when he had mused awhile
And thought that Garsiwaz had spoken rightly,
Repenting of his own advice and conduct,
And owning that his policy had failed,
Thus answered Garsiwaz : "From this affair
I see no good appear in any way.
Let us be patient till the turning sky
Shall make its aspects known. In everything
Delay is better than precipitance;
Wait till the sun hath shone on this awhile;
I shall discern God's purpose, and to whom
The bright cheek of revolving heaven is turned,
And then if I recall him to the court
I shall discover what his secret is.
All will no doubt be clear in course of time,
And if his villainy be manifest,
So that my heart must needs be pitiless,
No one will blame me afterward, for naught
But evil fitly recompenseth evil."
Then vengeful Garsiwaz: "Discerning king,
Whose words are righteous! Siyawush possesseth
Grace, stature, maces, swords, and god-like hands;
He will not come to court without a host,
But make both sun and moon turn dark to thee.
He is much changed, his crown is raised to heaven,
And Farangis thou wouldst not recognize,
But say: 'This world can give her nothing more.'
Thy troops will all go over to his side,
And when there is no flock there is no shepherd.
An army having seen a king like him,
So generous, so beaming, and so wise,
Thenceforth would never have thee for their king;
The Ram would be his throne and thine the Fish.
Moreover wilt thou call on him to quit '
The noble city and the prosperous seat
That he hath built, and bid him: 'Be my slave,
Content with meanness and obscurity?'
None seeth lions couch with elephants,
Or flames upon the surface of a stream.
If one should take a lion's whelp unsuckled
As yet, should bring it up on milk and sugar,
And nurse it on his bosom constantly,
It will revert to nature when full-grown
And fear no furious elephant's assault."
The monarch's heart was straitened at his words;
He grew despondent, anxious, and distressed,
But judged it best to pause, for prudent men
Win in the end, while those of windy pate
Obtain no praise. A wise man spake this saw:-
"A tempest that hath not been unforeseen
Thou mayst encounter with untroubled mien,
While Feather-brains will be in evil plight
Albeit cypress-tall and men of might."
Unrest and talk went on; their hearts were full
Of vengeance for the wrongs of ancient days,
For ever and anon came Garsiwaz -
The villain full of malice - to the king,
Concocting lying tales of Siyawush,
And stirring the Turanian monarch's heart,
Until he was possessed by care and vengeance.
One day the king in private conference
With Garsiwaz declared his purposes,
And said: "Thou must go hence. Hold intercourse
With Siyawush for long, then speak him fairly
From me, and say: 'Thou in thy happy home
Hast no desire to look on any one;
But my heart resteth not for love of thee.
Arise! Come hither, thou and Farangis,
Awhile, because we yearn to look upon thee,
With thy 'shrewd mind so full of excellence.
We too have game upon our hills, we too
Quaff wine and milk in cups of emerald.
Thus let us pass a season and be glad,
And, when thou longest for thy prosperous city,
Go thou with singing and with happiness.
Why are the wine and cup denied to us?
Think not about thy throne of majesty,
But straitly gird thy loins and come to me.'"
How Garsiwaz returned to Siyawush
The crafty, vengeful Garsiwaz made ready.
When he drew near Siyawushgird he bade
A fluent speaker: "Go to Siyawush
And say: 'Famed son of an aspiring sire!
By our king's life and head, and by the life,
The head, and royal crown of Shah Kaus,
Leave not thy throne to meet me on the way,
Because thou art so great in dignity,
In fortune, Grace, crown, throne, and lineage,
That every wind should have to gird its loins
To make thee quit that royal dwelling-place.'"
The messenger approaching kissed the ground
And told the words of Garsiwaz; the heart
Of Siyawush was pained, he sat and mused
Awhile, then said: "Here is some mystery!
I know not what my good friend Garsiwaz
Hath said about me to AfrasiyAb."
When Garsiwaz arrived the prince went out
Afoot to him, asked of the king's affairs,
Of throne and crown and host, and Garsiwaz
Then gave the message which made Siyawush
Rejoice, and thus he said: "For his dear sake
I would not turn away from swords of steel.
Lo! I will bind my girdle on to go,
And link my rein to thine; but we will tarry
Within this pleasance arabesqued with gold
Three days and hold a revel, for this world
Is fleeting by in pain and toil. Alas
For him whose little life is passed in sorrow!"
Revengeful Garsiwaz writhed when he heard
The prudent prince's words: "If Siyawush,"
He thought, 11 departeth with me to the king,
With his astuteness and his lion-strength
The prince will trample on my bow, my words
Will tarnish, and the king will deem my plan
A fraud; I must devise a scheme to urge
The heart of Siyawush to evil courses.'.'
He fixed an earnest gaze on Siyawush
in silence, while his eyes shed tears of gall
To further his intent. The prince beheld
Those swimming eyes as of one greatly moved,
And gently said: "My brother! what is this?
Is it a nameless grief, or hath the king
By his unkindness caused thy tears to flow?
Lo! I will go along with thee and fight
Thy battle with the monarch of Turan,
Will find out why he useth thee so ill,
And treateth thee as his inferior,
While if it is an open enemy
That causeth thee insufferable grief
And trouble, to! I am thy friend in all,
And will provide thee with the means to fight.
But if the royal favour is bedimmed,
Not by thy fault but through some slanderer's lies,
Or one hath ousted thee, confide in me,
That I may make all well, assuage thy griefs,
And purge the monarch of his faults herein."
But Garsiwaz replied: "O man of fame!
It is no question with me of the king,
Nor am I troubled by a foe. My courage
And wealth dispense with schemes. I mused on
Of race, and called to mind true tales of old;
The wrong began with Tur who lost the Grace,
And made feud with Iraj, who did not brawl.
Beneath Afrasiyab and Minuchihr
Turan hath been like water and Iran
Like fire; they mingled not but broke away
From wisdom's bonds; Afrasiyab is worse
Than Tur; this wild bull still is in his hide.
In truth thou knowest not his evil moods,
But wait until a little time hath passed.
First judge him by the guiltless Ighriras,
His brother in full blood, whom he destroyed
With his own hand in very wantonness,
While afterward full many a famous man
Was slaughtered by him for no fault at all.
My chief anxiety is now for thee,
For thou art shrewd of heart and stout of frame,
And, since thou camest to our land, hast done
No wrong to any, but adorned the world
With wisdom, seeking right and manliness.
Malignant Ahriman, who parteth hearts,
Hath seared the king's through thee, and it is all
Revenge and grief at thee! God's will I know not,
But thou lost know me as thy friend, thy partner
In weal and woe, and thou must not suspect
Hereafter that I knew of all this coil.
I therefore tell thee of the monarch's case,
Which it had been a fault in me to hide."
Then Siyawush: "Have no concern hereat,
The Maker of the world is mine ally;
I did hope otherwise than that the king
Would turn my day to night; had he been wroth
With me he had not raised me over others,
Or given me a province, crown, and throne,
Domain, his daughter, treasure, and a host.
Now will I go with thee to court and make
His dim moon shine again. Where'er truth shineth
The light of falsehood waneth. I will show him
This heart of mine, a heart that doth outshine
The sun in heaven. Be happy then, reject
Suspicion, for whoever suffereth
That dragon's breath departeth from God's way:'
But Garsiwaz made answer: "My dear friend
He is much changed. So long as heaven shall turn
He will be harsh and wear a frowning face.
Not e'en the wisest knoweth of the wiles
That lift on his horizon. Thou thyself,
With all thy learning and thy prudent heart,
Thy towering stature and high purposes,
Diseernest not 'twixt artifice and love
May no ill fortune ever come to thee!
He dealt in charms and spells with thee, and sewed
The eyes of wisdom up by his devices.
First, when he named thee son-in-law, thy joy
Was ill advised. Next when he sent thee forth
He made a feast for thee, and called his lords,
In hope that thou wouldst take some liberty,
And give occasion to the world to talk.
Besides thou art not closer unto him
By any ties than prudent Ighriras,
Whom he cut down, and filled the nobles' hearts
With terror. Since his purposes are clear,
Accept the fact; trust not the ties of blood.
Now like the shining sun have I displayed
My thoughts, my trade, and wit. Thou bast rejected
A father in Iran, and in Turan
Hast builded cities, yielding to the words
And sharing in the troubles of the king.
It is an ill tree that thy hand hath planted,
With poisonous fruit and leaves of colocynth.
He spake deceitfully with running eyes
And sighing lips, while Siyawush in tears,
Regarding him with wonder, called to mind
His own sad fate that heaven's love should cease,
And that though young his life was well nigh sped.
His heart was pained, his cheeks turned pale, he sighed
In heaviness of soul, and said: "I find not
That I deserve requital for ill done,
For nobody hath heard a fault of mine
In word or deed. Good sooth if I have squandered
His treasure my heart is wrung at his displeasure;
But come what may I never will transgress
His wishes or commands. Now let me go
With thee, without an escort, and discover
The reason of the anger of the king."
Then Garsiwaz replied: "Aspiring one
It is not well to go. No need to walk
Thus into fire, or to expose thyself
To breakers; 'tis but rushing into danger,
And sending smiling destiny to sleep;
I surely shall suffice to mediate
And fling cold water on the flames; but write
A letter telling all things fair or foul,
And if I find him free from vengeful thoughts,
And in a lucid interval of good,
I will dispatch a cavalier and make
Thy gloomy counsels bright. I trust in God,
Who knoweth all things, that Afrasiyab
Will turn to good and shun perverse, bad ways
But if I find him rash and obstinate
I likewise will dispatch a camel-post
In haste; then make thee ready instantly.
Illustrious monarchs and their realms are near
At hand, it is but six score leagues to Chin,
And only seventeen score to Iran,
Where all are friendly and prepared to serve thee.
On that side too thou bast a yearning father,
A host attached to thee, and loyal cities.
Dispatch a lengthy letter to all parts,
And haste to get thee ready."
Gave credence to the words of Garsiwaz,
So much was his shrewd intellect asleep,
And answered: "I will do as thou bast said,
And not transgress thy counsel and advice.
Make intercession for me with the king
And show me the right course in everything."
The Letter of Siyawush to Afrasiyab
A ready scribe was called to whom the prince
Gave full instructions. First invoking God -
The Assuager of His servant's grief - he spake
The praise of wisdom, blessed the king, and said:-
"O king victorious and fortunate
May time ne'er prove thine only monument.
Thou calledst me and I rejoiced thereat
May thy seat be amongst the archimages.
Moreover thou didst summon Farangis,
And fill her heart with love and loyalty
But Farangis is ailing at this present
With weakness and the loss of appetite,
She cannot rise and will not let me leave
Her side (I see her lying 'twixt two worlds)
Although my heart desired to look on thee,
And thy words gave new lustre to my spirit.
When Farangis is well she shall become
The ransom of the monarch of Turan;
Her sufferings are also mine excuse,
For I am privy to her pains and griefs."
He gave the letter, when it had been sealed,
At once to evil-natured Garsiwaz,
Who boldly made request for three fleet steeds,
And rode without a halt both day and night.
He traversed in three days the long, hard road
O'er hill and vale, and on the fourth day reached
The monarch's court, a villain bent on ill.
Afrasiyab, on seeing him thus pressed,
And full of hurry, questioned him at large:-
"Why hast thou come in haste," the monarch said,
"Why didst thou make a journey of such length? "
Then Garsiwaz replied: "When fortune loureth
It is not well to put thy trust therein.
Now Siyawush showed no regard for me,
Nor even came to meet me on the way,
Would hear no words, would not peruse thy letter,
But set me on my knees below his throne.
He had much correspondence with Iran,
And kept his city's portals shut on us.
What with a host from Rum and one from Chin
There is a constant bruit within the land.
Unless thou actest promptly thou wilt have
Naught left but wind. While thou art hesitating
He will attack thee, and obtain both realms,
For should he lead his army toward Iran
What man would dare come forth to challenge him?
My purpose in forewarning thee is this
That thou mayst suffer by no act of his."
How Afrasiyab came to fight with Siyawush
Whenas Afrasiyab had heard these words
The feelings of old days returned to him.
His heart grew full of fire, his head of wind,
He could not answer Garsiwaz for wrath,
But in his fury bade pipes, cymbals, trumpets,
And Indian bells be sounded, and troops summoned.
He flung away the letter all unread,
And, through the words that wicked Garsiwaz
Had spoken, set another tree of feud.
Now, while the guileful Garsiwaz was toiling
Upon the saddle, Siyawush in anguish
Went pale and trembling to his ladies' bower.
"Chief of the lion-clutch!" said Farangis,
"Why is thy favour changed? "
"My fair!" he answered,
"Mine honour hath been blackened in Turan.
I know not how to answer thee, for I
Am all confounded at the case myself;
But, if the words of Garsiwaz be true,
My share is point and not circumference."
Then Farangis plucked at her tresses, rent
With filbert-nails her cheeks of cercis-bloom,
Blood drenched her locks of musky hyacinth,
Her heart was full of fire, her face all tears,
Which fell in showers upon the silver hills.
She bit with pearly teeth her tulip lips,
She tore her hair out by the roots, and wept
For what Afrasiyab had said and done.
She said to Siyawush: "O noble king!
What wilt thou do? Make haste to tell me all.
Thy father is enraged, thou durst not speak
About Iran; 'tis longsome hence to Rum,
And thou wouldst be ashamed to go to Chin.
Whom wilt thou take to be thy refuge now?
Thy refuge is the Lord of sun and moon."
He answered her: "My good friend Garsiwaz
Will come with joyful tidings from the king,
Who surely will forgive through tenderness,
And turn his vengeance into clemency."
He put his trust in God while thus he spake,
But his hard fortune made his heart still ache.
How Siyawush had a Dream
For three days Siyawush wept bitterly
By reason of this treacherous turn of fate.
The fourth night as the prince lay fast asleep,
Clasped to the breast of moon-faced Farangis,
He shuddered, woke in fright, and cried as 'twere
A maddened elephant. The fair one clung
To him, exclaiming: "For love's sake, O king!
What aileth thee? "
When he called out they lit
The lamps and kindled aloe-wood before him,
And ambergris. The lady asked again:-
O O prudent prince! what sawest thou in sleep?"
Then Siyawush made answer: "Tell not thou
This dream of mine to any of the folk.
My dream was this, O silvern Cypress-tree!
I saw a mighty river stretching far,
And on the further bank a mount in flames;
The river-side was held by men in mail.
On one side was the swiftly rolling fire -
A fire whereby Siyawushgird was burned.
Here fire, there water, while Afrasiyab
Stood right before me with his elephants.
He looked upon me with a louring face,
And blew the already fiercely burning flames."
The lady answered him: "It bodeth well,
Unless thou slumberest for this one night."
Then Siyawush assembled all his guards
And posted them about the court and hall;
He mounted in full armour, sword in hand,
And sent out scouts upon the road to Gang.
Whenas the more part of the night had passed
There came a scout on horseback from the waste,
Who said: "Afrasiyab with many troops
Appeareth in the distance, pressing forward."
Then came a messenger from Garsiwaz,
Who said: "Gird up thy loins to save thy life.
My words have proved to be of no avail,
I see black smoke although I see no fire
Consider now what course thou shouldest take,
And how thou mayest best dispose thy troops."
But Siyawush, who knew not the design,
Believed in Garsiwaz. Then Farangis
Said: "O wise king! take no account of us,
But mount upon a courser fleet of foot,
And trust not to the country of Turan.
I fain would see thee in security
Abiding here, but save thyself and flee."
The Parting Words of Siyawush to Farangis
He said to Farangis: "That dream of mine
Hath come to pass : my glory is bedimmed.
For me existence draweth to an end,
The misery of bitter days hath come.
My palace may reach Saturn, yet death's poison
Hath to be drunk; though life should be prolonged
Twelve hundred years dark dust is our last home;
Some are the food of lions, some of vultures
Or eagles. Nobody possessed of wisdom
Expecteth any brightness from the night.
This is the fifth month of thy pregnancy
With our illustrious and growing babe
This precious Tree of thine will bring forth Fruit,
A glorious monarch; name him Kai Khusrau,
And in thy sorrowing find peace in him.
None from the bright sun to the darksome dust,
From gnat's wing to the mighty elephant's foot,
And from the well-spring to the river Nile,
Can scape the justice of All-holy God.
Turanian soil will be my grave, and none
Will say : 'His dust reposeth in Iran:
May not men call this old world :new whose sky
So quickly altereth? My jocund fortune
Will sleep henceforward by the king's command.
They will strike off this guiltless head of mine,
And lay my diadem in my heart's blood.
For me no bier, shroud, grave, or weeping people,
But like a stranger I shall lie in dust,
A trunk beheaded by the scimitar;
While thee, thy head unveiled, thy body bare,
The guards shall drag in shame along the road.
Then will Piran the chieftain reach the court,
Plead with thy sire to spare thy blameless life,
And bear thee to his palace in thine anguish.
There in the house of that old, honoured man
Wilt thou bring forth illustrious Kai Khusrau,
And there will come a saviour from Iran,
One with his loins girt up by God's command,
Who will convey thee and thy son in haste
Toward the Jfhun. Thy son will have the throne,
And rule o'er fowl and fish. A host will come
For vengeance from Iran and shake the world.
Such is the process of the fickle sky,
Which cottoneth to no man out of love!
Oh! what a mighty host will don their mail
To vindicate mine honour! Battle-shouts
Will rise, and Kai Khusrau will vex the age;
Then Rustam's Rakhsh will trample earth, despising
Turanian folk, and thou wilt see no vengeance
Ta'en for me till the Resurrection-day
Save by the mace and trenchant scimitar."
The noble hero turned himself to her,
Bade her farewell, and said: "Fair spouse! I go;
Be strengthened by my words, and think no more
Of luxury and throne."
He left the palace,
Heart-broken, pale, lamenting sore. O world!
I wot not why thou nurturest men if they
Whom thou hast nurtured are to be thy prey!
The lady tore her cheeks, plucked out her hair,
Sent two streams pouring from her eyes, and hung
Upon him as he spake the words of woe.
With cheeks and eyes which ran with his heart's blood
He sought the stables of his Arab steeds,
And led forth from its stall night-hued Bihzad,
Which overtook the wind in days of battle.
He groaned, he clasped its head upon his breast,
And took the halter and the headstall off.
Long while he whispered in his charger's ear,
And said: "Be prudent, have to do with none.
When to avenge me Kai Khusrau shall come
It is on thee that he must put the bridle,
So now renounce the stable once for all,
For thou shaft carry him to his revenge.
Be thou his charger, trample on the world,
And with thy hoofs sweep foemen from the earth."
He hamstrung all the other steeds and slashed
Their legs like rushes with his scimitar.
As for the riches in the treasury,
His palace, and rose-garden, his brocade,
Dinars, pearls, jewelry, the diadem,
Sword, belt, and helm, he burned and wasted them.
How Siyawush was taken by Afrasiyab
This done, he with his chiefs marched toward Iran,
Lost in amazement at his evil fortune,
And with his cheeks suffused by tears of blood
Fared half a league then met Afrasiyab,
Beheld an armoured host with sword and mace,
And, buckling up his mail, thought: "Garsiwaz
Hath told the truth, a truth too evident!"
Now Siyawush feared for his life what time
The monarch of Turan drew nigh. His troops
Partook his fears. The Turkmans occupied
All hills and roads, and each host eyed the other,
For hate had been a stranger to their hearts.
Through fear of Siyawush the Turkman horsemen
Sought not to fight but hung back cautiously.
With things at such a pass the Irania.ns cried
To Siyawush: "O monarch of the world
Why should they slay us with impunity
And drag us o'er the plain? Think this no trifle
But let them witness the Iranians' prowess."
Then Siyawush: "This is not well, for we
Have neither room nor force to fight. To offer
My sovereign battle would disgrace my stock.
The turning sky is bent on my destruction,
Though guiltless, by the hands of wicked men,
And I can make no bold attack to-day,
For none can strive with God. What said the sage,
That man of prudence? ' Brave not adverse fate.'"
Then to Afrasiyab said Siyawush :-
"O full of virtues, great and glorious king
Why hast thou come to battle with thy host?
Why wouldst thou slay me in mine innocence?
Thou wilt embroil the forces of two realms,
And fill the earth and age with malisons."
Said Garsiwaz the insensate: "Do these words
Befit thee? If thou art so innocent
Why hast thou come thus mail-clad to the king?
Men come not to receive their sovereigns
With gifts of bow and mail."
On hearing answered: "Villain! through thy words
I left the right path in my heedlessness.
Thou saidst: 'The monarch is enraged at thee! '
Now guiltless men in thousands will be slaughtered
Through what thou saidst, but punishment will come
At last. As thou hast sown so shalt thou reap."
Then to the king: "Let not thine anger burn.
It is no jest for thee to shed my blood,
And wage a war against the innocent.
Give not thyself and kingdom to the winds
For what,that miscreant Garsiwaz hath said."
But Garsiwaz the double-dealer watched
And, while the prince was speaking to the king,
Grew wroth and cried: "O king! what aileth thee?
Why shouldst thou hold a parley with thy foe? "
Now when the king had heard what Garsiwaz
Had spoken, and it being then broad day,
He bade his soldiers draw their trenchant swords,
And raise a shout like Resurrection-morn;
But Siyawush, still constant to his pledge,
Put not his hand to sword and javelin,
And let not one of his companions
Advance a foot to battle with the foe.
Malevolent and fell Afrasiyab
Then wrought upon that chieftain of Iran
Gross outrage, saying: "Give them to the sword,
And float a ship in blood upon the plain."
The Iranian army was a thousand strong,
All men of name and doughty warriors,
Who perished on the field and made the earth
Like tulips with their gore. Amid the mellay
The prince fell from his sable steed, sore wounded
By shaft arid dart. Gurwf the son of Zira
Bound both his hands, as he was lying senseless,
Behind his back firm as a rock, while others
Placed on his neck a yoke. The blood ran down
Those cheeks of cercis-bloom; he ne'er had seen
A day like that! The executioners
Urged him and dragged him on the road afoot
With troops around him toward Siyawushgird.
Afrasiyab commanded, saying: "Take him
Beside the road and let him be beheaded
On some bare spot where grasses never grow,
And pour his blood upon the burning earth.
Let there be no delay and have no fears."
The soldiers said: "What fault hast thou discerned?
Wilt thou not say, O king! how he hath wronged thee
That thou shouldst steep thy hands thus in his blood?
Why wilt thou slay a man for whom the crown
And ivory throne will weep with bitterness?
Plant not in times of happiness a tree
Whose fruitage fortune will convert to bane."
But Garsiwaz, that man of evil note,
Was in his folly on the murderers' side,
And fair would shed the blood of Siyawush
Through dudgeon ever since the day of contest.'
There was a warrior younger than Piran,
His brother and his noble peer, by name
Pilsam, a bright, accomplished youth, who reasoned ,
Thus with the king: "The fruitage of this shoot
Is pain and grief. I have heard sages say,
And wisdom too agreeth therewithal:-
' How can deliberation cause regret?'
And: 'Reason is the medicine of the angry:
And: 'Haste and ill are works of Ahriman -
Pain and remorse to body and to soul.'
It is not reason to behead thy subject
So recklessly; keep him in bonds till time
Shall give its teaching; when the breath of wisdom
Shall breathe upon thy heart thou mayst behead him,
But give no order now, be not in haste,
For hastiness is rooted in regret.
It is not fit to sever, O wise king!
A head whose covering will be the crown;
And if thou shah behead a guiltless man,
One whom Kaus and Rustam will avenge -
The Shah's own son whom Rustam hath brought up
And nourished fondly - we shall see the wrong
Revenged, and thou wilt suffer for this day.
Bethink thee of the sword with flashing blade,
The sword whereby the world is filled with blood,
And those famed leaders of the Iranians,
Whose wrath confoundeth earth, as Fariburz,
The son of Kai Kaus, the ravening Lion,
Whom none e'er yet saw satiate of fight;
That hero too and snorting Elephant,
Great Rustam, in whose eyes a host is vile.
Then will Gudarz, Gurgin, Farhad, and Tus
Make fast the drums upon the elephants' backs,
Gird up their loins to take revenge, and fill
The wide champaign with spearmen. I, my peers,
And our best warriors cannot countervail.
Good sooth Piran will come at dawn, the king
Will also hear what he hath got to say,
And seeing that there is no urgency
Dispread not such a carpet of revenge
Upon the world. Enjoin not haste herein,
For it will be the ruin of Turan."
Afrasiyab was softened by these words,
But Garsiwaz his brother had no shame,
And said: "Check not thy purpose, man of wisdom!
Because of this youth's talk. The plain is full
Of vultures feeding on the Iranian dead,
And if thou fearest vengeance there is cause.
Should Siyawush cry out earth would appear
All mace and scimitar from Rum and Chin.
Hath he not done thee wrong enough that thou
Shouldst listen weakly to what others say?
The snake's tail thou hast crushed and bruised its
Now wilt thou deck its body with brocade?
If thou shaft spare his life I will depart
To some retreat and perish."
Went with Gurwi, both writhing with affright,
Before the monarch of Turan and said:-
"Mind not the blood of Siyawush so much,
Because 'tis vile to rest with all to do,
But hearken to the words of Garsiwaz,
The counsellor, and sweep away thy foe.
Since thou hast laid the snare and captured him
Slay him at once, and tarnish not thy glory
Through folly. Holding him is not enough;
'Tis needful that we break our foemen's hearts.
Thou hast destroyed his troops! Mark how the prince
Will now regard thee. Had none injured thee
Aforetime water could have purged this fault;
Now policy would have him seen no more
At large or in restraint."
The king replied
"I have myself beheld no fault in him;
Albeit astrologers declare that ill
Will come to me through him, and if I shed
His blood revenge will raise dust in Turan
And dim the sun. That day will daze the wise.
Misfortune is upon me and my realm;
Affliction, pain, and bondage are at hand,
Yet freeing him is worse than slaying him,
Though slaying him will cause me pain and anguish."
But neither sage nor villain can make sure
What new expedient heaven may have in store.
How Farangis bewailed herself before Afrasiyab
The news reached Farangis, who tore her cheeks
And came afoot before Afrasiyab,
Girt with a bloody cord, her moon-like face
Besmirched with blood; she came in fear and trembling,
And, as she scattered dust upon her head,
Exclaimed :' "O monarch full of excellence
Why wilt thou bring me to such misery?
Why hast thou wrapped thy heart up in deceit?
Dost thou not from thy height perceive the abyss?
Take not a monarch's and a guiltless head;
The Judge of sun and moon will disapprove.
When Siyawush departed from Iran
He did thee homage - thee of all the world -
Gave umbrage to the Shah, left treasures, crown,
And throne to make thee his support and shelter.
What hast thou seen in him to make thee quit
The path of right? No man beheadeth kings
And long retaineth his own sovereignty.
Wrong not my blameless self too, for the world
Is fleeting and is full of sobs and sighs.
One man though crowned it casteth into prison,
One who ne'er had a crown it maketh king;
Yet fate hath laid the grave's grip on them both,
And in the end both lie alike in dust.
Make not thyself a butt to all the world
By listening to malicious Garsiwaz.
Thou knowest well what tyrannous Zahhak,
The Arab, suffered from brave Faridun;
And likewise how both Salm and savage Tur
Fared at the hands of great Shah Minuchihr.
Now living at the throne of Shah Kaus
Are Zal and Rustam the vindictive one,
Gudarz, son of Kishwad, whose hand is steel
And rendeth lions' hearts and leopards' hides,
Bahram and Zanga son of Shawaran,
Who heedeth not the maces of the valiant,
And Giv, son of Gudarz, at whom the earth
Is all a-tremble on the day of battle.
In grief for Siyawush the streams will boil
And heaven will execrate Afrasiyab.
Herein thou art a tyrant to thyself,
And often will my words recur to thee.
Thou art not casting onagers in sport,
Nor art thou terrifying antelopes,
But plundering a monarch of his throne,
And sun and moon will curse thee. Give not thou
Turan so madly to the winds, and never
Mayst thou have reason to recall my words."
She as she spoke caught sight of Siyawush,
And tore her cheeks with lamentable cries :-
"O king! O brave! O chief! O sovereign!
O lion proud of head! O man of might!
Thou hast left home and country in Iran,
And recognised my father as thy king,
Yet art thou haled afoot with bounden hands
Where are the crown and throne of high estate,
Where all the royal oaths and covenants
That made the Sun and Moon and Saturn quail?
Where would be Shah Kaus and his proud chiefs
If at this moment they beheld thee thus?
Where are the mighty Rustam, Tus, and Giv,
Zal, Faramarz, and their associates?
The tidings of this wrong will reach Iran
And vex the day of its prosperity.
Ill hath befallen thee through Garsiwaz
Curse on him, on Gurwf and on Damur
He that shall lay a hand on thee for ill,
Be his head smitten off and flung away.
May God vouchsafe to lighten this for thee,
And make thy foes' hearts quake. Would that mine eyes
Were out ere they beheld thee haled like this,
But could I ever deem that mine own sire
Would banish all the sunlight from my breast?"
The monarch heard his child's words and the world
Was blackened in his eyes. He said to her:-
"Begone. What know'st thou of our purposes?"
His heart was all a-fire against his daughter,
He shut the eye of wisdom recklessly.
Within the lofty palace was one chamber
Unknown to her; the monarch bade his guards
To drag her thither, as they would the mad,
And having flung her down inside that room
To bolt the door and leave her in the gloom.
How Siyawush was slain by Gurwi
Then Garsiwaz glanced at Gurwi; that villain
Turned round and going up to Siyawush
Showed no observance and humanity,
But grasping with his hand the prince's beard
Dragged him, O horror! vilely through the dust,
While Siyawush thus prayed Almighty God:-
"O Thou that art above the change of time!
Cause from my seed an Offshoot to appear,
In all men's eyes as 'twere a shining sun,
Who will avenge me of my foes, maintain
My precedents, exhibit all achievement
And manliness, and reinstate the world."
Pilsam came following Gurwi with tears
Of blood in anguish. " Fare thee well," the prince
Exclaimed. " Be thou the woof and be the world
Thy warp. Farewell Piran for me and say:-
'The fashion of the world hath changed!' I hoped
Much otherwise of him, for his advice
Was like the breeze and I was like the willow.
He told me: 'I with five score thousand men,
All cavaliers in mail on barded steeds,
Will be thy helper when the day shall come,
Will be thy pasturage at feeding-time.'
Now hurried on in front of Garsiwaz,
Afoot thus in my shame and gloom of soul,
I see no friend or one to wail for me."
When he was past the city and the host
They bore and dragged him bound upon the plain,
And then Gurwi received from Garsiwaz
A blue-steel dagger for the bloody deed.
He dragged the prince on by the hair afoot
And when he came to where the mark had stood
The day that Siyawush and Garsiwaz,
That lion-taker, had the shooting-bout,
The son of Zira, villain that he was,
Flung to the ground the mighty Elephant,
And showed no shame or reverence for rank,
But set a golden basin on the ground,
Turned up the prince's face as 'twere a sheep's,
Cut off the silver Cypress' head and filled
The bowl with blood. Gurwi took up the bowl
And emptied it where he had been commanded.
From that blood presently there sprang a plant,
Which I will teach thee how to recognise,
For it is called " The Blood of Siyawush."
Now when the Sun had left the Cypress-stem,
And when the prince's head had fallen asleep,
(And what a sleep! For how much time hath passed
And he hath never stirred, hath never waked!)
A tempest with a cloud of darksome dust
Arose enveloping the sun and moon,
And no man could discern his neighbour's face.
Then all of them began to curse Gurwi.
I turn me left and right and all around,
But knowledge of this world have I not found.
One man doth much amiss but good alone
Is his, the world and fortune are his own;
Another walketh this earth righteously
Yet withereth away in misery.
From every anxious care thy soul release,
And let thy sorrow over this world cease,
For 'tis a fickle thing, not ever sure,
And will be so till time shall be no more.
But this is certain - whatso'er thy lot
May be in this world it abideth not.
A cry rose from the halls of Siyawush,
For Garsiwaz had filled the world with tumult;
The slaves all rent their hair, and Farangis
Plucked off and bound a long and musky tress
Around her, tore her cheeks of cercis-bloom,
And cursed with tears and shrieks her father's soul,
Who hearing how she wailed and cursed him, said
To Garsiwaz the villain: "Bring her forth,
Drag her outside the curtains by the hair,
And tell the guards and executioners
To take her by the tresses, strip, and beat her,
Until she casteth on Turanian soil
The seed of vengeance, for I will not have
A tree or bough or leaf or crown or throne
Come from his root."
Then all the nobles present
Began to curse Afrasiyab, and said:-
From From king or minister or warrior
None e'er heard such a sentence!"
Blood-stained, his spirit seared, his face all tears,
Pilsam approached Lahhak and Farshidward.
"E'en Hell is better than Afrasiyab's
Throne!" he exclaimed. " No rest or sleep for us
in this land! We must hasten to Piran
In sorrow and concern about the captives."
They put the saddles on three noble steeds
"They roll the earth before them," thou hadst said.
Now these three horsemen, when they reached Piran,
Their faces blood-stained and their souls all thorns,
Recounted to him what had come to pass,
And how the ills of fortune had begun.
Pira,n, when he had diligently heard
Their words, fell from his throne and swooned away.
He rent leis clothes, threw dust upon his head,
Plucked out the hair, and in his bitter anguish
Exclaimed: "Alack! thou worthy of the crown?
For ivory throne will never see thy like:'
Lahhak said: "Haste! oh! haste! or greater grief
Will come, for they have carried Farangis,
Her body all a-quiver like a tree,
Dethroned, disgraced, unrespited, away
To give her over unto those that slay!"
How Piran saved Farangis
Piran on hearing this cried out in wrath,
Descended to the street and from the stable
Brought forth ten roadsters up to warriors' weight,
And with the brave Ruin and Farshidward
Sent up the dust forthwith. He reached the court
In two days and two nights, there found the deathsmen
About the portal, Farangis bereft
Of all her wits dragged roughly by the guard
With sword in hand, and all the court in uproar;
All hearts were full of grief, all eyes of tears,
All tongues of curses on Afrasiyab.
The populace - men, women, and young children -
Were talking at the palace-gate and saying:-
"It were a cruel, fearful, shocking deed
To cut asunder Farangis! This fury
Will wreck the reign and none will call him king
At that moment came Piran
Like wind, and all the men of wisdom joyed.
When noble Farangis saw him her cheeks
Were hidden by a flood of tears, she said:
"Ill hast thou dealt with me! Why hast thou flung me
While living into fire? "
Piran dropped off
His steed, he rent the raiment that he wore
As paladin, and bade the officers
To hold awhile. He sought Afrasiyab
In haste, grief-stricken, and with tearful eyes,
To whom he said: "O king! live prosperously,
Be evil's hand afar! What hath occurred,
My gracious king! to turn thy face to ill
To-day? Why hath the foul Div gained thy heart,
And robbed it of its reverence for God?
Thou hast slain Siyawush though innocent,
And flung his name and kingship to the dust.
News of this wrong will reach tran and vex
Our prosperous times, for many a paladin
Will march in anguish and revenge against us.
The world reposed from ill, the way of God
Was clear until the wily Div from Hell
Smote to the heart the monarch of Turan;
And rightly be that Ahriman accursed,
Who turned thy counsels to an evil course.
Thou wilt repent of this for many a day,
And surely writhe and burn in agony.
I know not whose ill words have prompted this,
Or what the Maker's purpose is herein!
Now, quit of Siyawush, thou hast ill-treated
Thine own child, and hast madly left thy throne
To make a day of woe! She wisheth not
For fortune, royal state or throne or crown.
Make not thyself a butt to all the world
By what thou doest to thy pregnant child,
Else while thou livest thou wilt be accursed,
And when thou diest Hell will be thy portion.
If now the king would make my spirits bright,
Let him send Farangis to mine abode.
If there be apprehension through this babe,
In truth the trouble and concern are small.
Have patience only till the child is born;
Then will I bring it thee and - do thy worst."
He answered: "Do as thou hast said, for thou
Hast made me cease to wish to shed her blood."
Piran rejoiced, his heart was eased from fear.
He sought the court-gate, rescued Farangis,
Bestowing many a curse upon the guards,
Then bore her to the country of Khutan,
Unhurt, amid the applause of camp and court.
When he had reached his palace he bespake
Gulshahr: "We needs must harbour this fair dame
Until she hath brought forth her royal babe,
And after that I will devise some scheme.
Meanwhile attend upon her like a slave,
And mark the pranks of fortune."
Time passed by
The Moon grew near to her delivery.
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